Audio Mixer: Enrico Granafei.
Liner Note Author: Enrico Granafei.
Authors: Gene Bertoncini; Verne Smith; Horace Ott; Lewis Porter; Stanley Jordan; Ted Curson; Bucky Pizzarelli.
Photographer: Christopher Drukker.
Enrico Granafei, on first listen, will be categorized as a modern-day Toots Thielemans, as he emphasizes the chromatic harmonica and acoustic guitar. Playing a mix of jazz standards and Brazilian tunes will lend further comparison to the Belgian multi-instrumentalist. The difference is that Granafei is playing both the harmonica and acoustic guitar at once, not overdubbed -- repeat, no overdubs! The key is that the chromatic harmonica, which heretofore could only be played with two hands in order to manipulate the button that changes the harmonic pitch of the instrument, has been modified so that the bottom lip can shift the reeds to play sharps and flats. Aside from the innovative technical aspects Granafei brings to the table, he also presents some very pleasing music. The samba and bossa nova numbers are classics like "Meditation," "The Shadow of Your Smile," a heartstrings tugger version of "Only Trust Your Heart" interprets the especially tricky melody of "Wave," and offers the lesser known "Calabrossa," where Granafei sings in Portuguese. In all instances, he plays the melody on harmonica, uses spare chords on the guitar, and adds deft basslines. He does a spirited "Autumn Leaves," a fairly standard "Out of Nowhere," a fast "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" with his singing priming an impressive harmonica solo, and does a lovely take of the Hank Jones tune on its way to becoming a standard, "Favors." His facility on all three dimensions of melody, harmony, and rhythm is most pronounced on a fine take of the 12-bar "Bag's Groove." Impressive and soulful, romantic without being dreamy, never ever cheesy, and undoubtedly remarkable, this is only a beginning for Granafei. One can only wonder what he might do outside covers and mainstream standard fare. ~ Michael G. Nastos