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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Big Surprise Music artist - Carmen Grillo - A Different World - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, A Different World, from Carmen Grillo and it's really sweet! Grillo is the guitar player from Sons Of Champlin and formerly with Tower of Power so you already have a feel for what may be in store. Opening with Come And Gone, a contemporary jazzy blues track Grillo shows his voice is a good match for his song writing and his tasty guitar riffs. Also featuring Mark Meadows (bass), Tony Braunagel (drums) Marc Hugenberger (keys), Mike Finnigan (B3), Greg Adams (trumpet), Lee Thomburg (trumpet and trombone) and Johnnie Bamont on sax this piece moves. JG Watson's classic Real Mother For Ya has that classic bottom thanks to Meadows and Brauagel but with the flair of Grillo looking at the guitar work through fresh eyes, he really sets this thing on fire. I Got The Sauce opens with Rocco Prestia laying down a real nice bass riff and Grillo isn't far behind creating a jazz rock fusion track with creative and nicely executed guitar lead. Rob Mullins joins in with a really nice B3 solo on this track bringing me back to some of the super fusion key players. This is a hot track and one that will make a groove under your back side. (Nice job Rocco)! Steve Stephens is classic with his drum riffs really capping a great track. Tryin' To Make It Happen is a real pop oriented track sounding a lot like it's from the Steely Dan song book... not a bad thing. Grillo again shines on lead vocals and the trumpet work of Adams and Thormburg really set this track off. Prototype has a really nice feel with lead guitar melody. Grillo knows how to play and not overplay making for a well balanced, interesting and fun track. Guitar players...listen up! Real nice! A Different World comes out of the chute ...Adams and Thromburg trumpets blazing. With a light funk and more of a TOP feel this track is dominated by vocal with hot instrumental accents. Bob Emmet really places his piano riffs nicely and Grillo steps up with tasty riffs keeping things tight. Transatlantic Boogie is a cool funky instrumental sounding a bit like a take on some cool old Jeff Beck riffs. Give that to a bunch of hot players and the smoke turns to fire...nice! A very hot groove featuring Grillo, Watson, Matthews and Emmet. Sad State Of Affairs is the first ballad on the release and although possibly my least favorite track on the release, expertly executed and again featuring very nice instrumentation. (It's probably the radio sleeper on the release). The Nature Of The Beast has a bit more of a New Orleans funky rock beat as sees the addition of Curt Campbell on harp. Champlin lays down some cool organ work but this track belongs to Herman Matthews with his clean drum execution. Everything's Gonna Be Alright is a straight up rock track. The cool thing is, when you get this many talented musicians together focused around a concept, it usually turns out well...and it does. River Of Molten Rock is another fusion instrumental and I love it. Meadows and Braunagel do the heavy lifting but Hugenberger stes the trap and Grillo steps up and rips it loose. Very smart track! Wrapping the release is You're The One, a Peter Frampton like ballad. Done acoustically with Grillo accompanying himself on guitar and Mullins on keys this is a clean simple ending to a super guitar fusion release.

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