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Unfinished Business

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Album Review

The late guitar virtuoso Danny Gatton was many things — talented, broad-minded, unpredictable, imaginative, versatile, chance-taking. But one thing Gatton was not was easy to categorize. Those hearing Gatton's work for the first time have often asked, "Exactly what category did he fall into? Jazz, rock, blues, R&B, country, pop?" And truth be told, he was a combination of all of those things. Anyone who hopes to pin Gatton down stylistically won't find Unfinished Business to be any help; stylistically, this excellent instrumental album (which originally came out on NRG Records in 1987 and was reissued by Powerhouse in late 2004) is all over the place. Gatton is a ballsy blues-rocker on "Notcho Blues" (a Gatton original), but his jazz chops are alive and well on Charlie Byrd's "Homage to Charlie Christian" and the Ray Noble standard "Cherokee" — and on the very twangy "Nit Pickin'" (another Gatton original), his appreciation of country and rockabilly is impossible to miss. Some might think, "OK, so Gatton was eclectic, but he must have handled some styles more proficiently than others, right?" No; the fact is that on Unfinished Business, Gatton handles all of these styles equally well — he had a deep and genuine appreciation of a wide variety of music, which is why he plays his guitar as convincingly on Santo & Johnny's "Sleepwalk" as he does on Les Baxter's "Quiet Village" (the reissue's bonus track) and a dark, moody arrangement of Jackie Gleason's "Melancholy Serenade." This memorable CD is as focused as it is adventurous and far-reaching.


Born: 04 September 1945 in Washington D.C.

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Guitar virtuoso Danny Gatton was known for the incredibly wide stylistic range of his playing; based in rockabilly, Gatton's musical vocabulary included R&B, pop, country, rock, and jazz, all of which he could play effectively. Gatton began playing at age nine, joining his first band, the Lancers, three years later. In 1960, Gatton pursued a jazz direction when he joined the Offbeats, where pianist/organist Dick Heintze proved to be one of Gatton's biggest influences. The band broke up four years...
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Unfinished Business, Danny Gatton
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