CD Review: Tony Grey "Elevation"

December 3, 2013

For his fourth solo outing, Tony Grey—whose mastery of the 6-string ranges from effortless neck-scaling solo flights to panoramic collages of chordal melodies, loops, and effects—shares the spotlight with seven 6-stringers of another kind: guitarists John McLaughlin, Mike Stern, David Fiuzynski, Reb Beach, Nir Felder, Fabrizio Sotti, and Tomayasu Hotei (aided by the supple stickwork of David Throckmorton on all but one track). McLaughlin, Grey’s uncle, arrives early with “Chick’s Chums,” an angular Rhythm-changes head he wrote for Chick Corea that features the bop-ish blowing of both nephew and uncle. Experimentally charged covers of “Freedom Jazz Dance” and “Solar,” and the Eastern-intoned “Floating River Yangtze,” feature the unmistakable sound and imagination of Fiuzynski on his fretless guitar. Whitesnake’s Beach joins Grey for a unison fuze shred on the title track, with each soloing over different changes, while Hotei mines similar metal-edged territory on “Galactic Samurai,” which also boasts Grey’s most resonant solo. Elsewhere, Nir Felder proves a good sonic and creative match with the bassist on “Guiding Light” and “Dil Chahata Hai,” and Grey’s most fervent support work occurs behind Stern on “Walking In, Walking Out.” With plenty of potential in any of these pairings, let’s see where the über-talented Tony turns next.

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