Pete Gitlin -- Amplify

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Pete Gitlin — Amplify

May 21, 2012

Here is the sophomore release from a guitarist I have just had the pleasure of hearing, Pete Gitlin. The release, Amplify, is an album of eclecticism in its fullest sense, ranging in diversity from the smoothness of contemporary jazz to R&B and even to country. You are sometimes left to wonder where his tastes actually call “home.” Most likely, a little of all of these genres claim a bit of that home.

The lead track, “Lucky in Love” will surely catch many a smooth jazzer’s ear as a rich, foot-tapping groove while the track immediately following, “Soul Connection,” featuring Dominic Amato on sax and the EWI, saunters about in a saucy R&B vibe. Jeff Kashiwa is featured on sax on the sexy and “saxiful” title track with Jodi Light on vocals. A very full-bodied tune with loads of charm.

Talk about sexy, the soft, slow, romantic “If You Say So” is a track calling for the dim lights and candlelight as the lovely trumpeter Cindy Bradley offers up her well-known, well-appreciated skills on flugelhorn. Yep, this is the one requiring no talking and actually wanting none.

“Straight Down The Fairway” again featuring Amato on sax with some splendid runs is a mid-tempo mover with a catchy chorus.

Gitlin’s “Reggaetown,” while nice, offered a bit too much guitar distortion and what I felt were displaced flats for this piece to work well for me. Just a little something missing for the big reggae fan in me.

No matter. The very lovely “Across The Endless Ocean” again with Cindy Bradley putting in an appearance, this time on trumpet and euphonium, more than made up for the reggae piece for me. Lovely phrasing, melody, and hook.

While the country-style “Cowboys and Indians” missed the mark for me, this CD has so much more going for it than against it. Gitlin’s desire to experiment takes nothing away from this fine product. In fact, I applaud his courageous effort to stretch his horizons and seek new, perhaps fertile, ground. Personally, I’m just glad he didn’t stray too far from a place where we jazzers can easily find him. After all, he just got here, and from what I’ve heard, I’d like to hear him around a lot longer in our “neck of the woods.” – Ronald Jackson

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