Thursday, July 4, 2013

Instrumental Prowess


Note: These reviews originally appeared in the Around Hear column in the Illinois Entertainer.

Guitarist Joe Gajan keeps his foot on the accelerator as he maneuvers through the hard rock instrumentals on his latest release, Supermatic. Gajan electrifies a vintage rock sound on “Cliffracer,” and evokes Robin Trower on the atmospheric “Paradigm Puzzle.” He consistently adds nuances to his playing, whether it’s on the heavy metal stomp of “Rally Fingers” or the southern boogie of “Kikin’ Chit.” Bassist Dave Moran and drummer Jimmy Erhardt are also essential to Gajan’s relentless approach.

Guitarist Joe Marcinek wrote all the material on the Joe Marcinek Band’s debut, Both Sides, but there’s plenty of room for the other five musicians to share the spotlight with him. Marcinek’s ability to explore various moods on these long-form jazz instrumentals is particularly augmented by violinist Stephan Cook on the energetic “Happy Lettuce.” “Set You Free” features Marcinek’s seductive guitar playing and some fluid keyboard playing from the singularly-named Waz.

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