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Brightness of Being

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Album Review

Paul Bollenback, perhaps best known as organist Joey DeFrancesco's regular guitarist although he has led quite a few record dates of his own, gathered together quite a variety of material for Brightness of Being. In addition to four of his originals, the repertoire includes some Ray Charles hits and songs by Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, and classical composer Puccini. Bollenback is joined by bassist James Genus, either Terri-Lyne Carrington or Ari Honnig on drums, and three different saxophonists. Veteran David "Fathead" Newman is typically warm and soulful on "Unchain My Heart" and "You Don't Know Me," Tim Garland shows versatility on his three reeds, and tenor saxophonist Gary Thomas plays a bit more conservatively than usual during his appearances. Another asset is singer Chris McNulty, who is heard on four numbers, mostly singing wordlessly. But throughout, guitarist Bollenback is generally the solo star, giving this diverse set unity, coherency, and a constant swing. Recommended.


Born: 06 June 1959 in Hinsdale, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Award-winning jazz guitarist Paul Bollenback developed a taste for the exotic over the course of a three-year period when his family lived in India. He was 11 years old when the family traveled to New Delhi, and years later the sounds and experiences of that early journey found their way into his first album from Challenge Records, Original Visions. His next release, Double Gemini, continued to stir up a buzz among critics, and it drew honors as CD of the Month from both WBGO, a Newark jazz station,...
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Brightness of Being, Paul Bollenback
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