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Album Review

There aren't that many guitarists who can claim to have played alongside both John Zorn and Norah Jones. But Adam Rogers, whose credits also include stints with Regina Carter, Elvis Costello, the Mingus Orchestra, and Simon Shaheen, and who was co-leader of the respected fusion band Lost Tribe, is nothing if not broad minded. The nice thing is that in his work as a leader he lets his wide range of experiences influence his playing without feeling the need to showcase all of them individually; instead, he plays in a generally quite straight-ahead style, with a unique combination of a warm, intimate tone and a sometimes aggressive attack. His compositions are highly sophisticated — occasionally maybe just a bit too much so. On one or two numbers on Allegory it becomes a chore to try to follow the chord progressions, though Rogers' playing and that of saxophonist Chris Potter are incisive and interesting enough to make it worth the effort. But in most cases, Rogers' sharp musical intelligence works very much in the music's favor — note in particular the thrilling rhythmic intricacy of "Was," and the blindingly quick guitar obbligatos that he layers subtly in the background. On "Red Leaves" he displays admirable classical guitar technique, and the slightly beboppish "Purpose" brings the body of the program to an exciting close. Recommended.

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