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ENRICO CRIVELLARO

MOJO ZONE

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ELECTRO-FI (ELECTRO3411)

Say No More, Sweet And Skanky, Last Night In Atlanta, Hubert, Casa Babylon, Blues For Larry Johnson, Midnight Blue, Guitar Rumba, Come On In This House, Cape Flats, Dano-Mite

Enrico Crivellaro was born in Padova, Italy but moved to the USA as teenager when he won a scholarship to the National Guitar Workshop in Connecticut. There, he was tutored by the likes of Ronnie Earl and Duke Robillard and he also met his best friend and other guitar great, Sean Costello. After moving to Los Angeles, it wasn't long before he was on stage with everyone from Luther Johnson, Junior Kimbrough and Buddy Guy to Sugar Blue, Alex Schultz and Roy Gaines as well as playing on the CDs of  Kid Ramos, Mel Brown, James Harman, Janeva Magness, Lester Butler Tribute Band, Royal Crown Revue and many more.

Mojo Zone is his second album for Electro-Fi. His first ‘Key To My Kingdom' was warmly received for his skilful guitar playing and his choice of material. Following the success of the album, critics were picking up on his live performances and raving about his talent. Blues Revue said his music was "funky, tasty and inspired, with soul galore" and Real Blues enthused that he was a "dynamic star level talent. Enrico burns frets with total abandon, they (his contemporaries) should all be this good". One listen to this dynamic all-instrumental CD of guitar classics will persuade you that they know exactly what they're talkin' about.

Recorded in Italy with ace keyboard player Pietro Taucher and a plush rhythm section, this CD is a blast from start to finish. Enrico is on fire here-slashing away at the big blues epic ‘Blues For Larry Johnson'. This one reminds me of Mike Bloomfield because of the caustic runs along the frets full of spitting notes and thundering licks - nothing like Larry's acoustic blues at all!

‘Say No More' is full to the brim with bent notes, soaring atmospheric changes and persistently sparkling full-fat blues lines. After the hard rocking opening there's a terrific stuttering and stammering same note solo that Steve Cropper would have been proud of. Then it's into some cool jazzy choogling on the keyboards before Enrico's back, slamming in with some big chords and finishing with a cataclysmic guitar finale. Terrific stuff.

‘Hubert', which must be a tribute to Mr Sumlin, opens with some funky drumming on the off-beat while Enrico rips off some clanging runs and then lets rip with white hot jangling licks on the top strings before dive bombing down to attack the bass strings. Underneath it all, the rhythm section barrels along thwacking out the beat and bringing this thing to the boil. This tune lasts nearly eight minutes but feels like it's over in two! It's not all frenetic though; he gives a beautiful treatment to the marvellous jazz standard ‘Midnight Blue' and ‘Last Night In Atlanta' has a sleek and sensuous feel that reminds me of both Larry Carlton and BB King.

Back to the rockin' stuff, ‘Sweet And Skanky' sounds like Snooks Eaglin on steroids with its big fat bopping beat overloaded by a huge guitar sound strung together with a bunch of squealing, discordant runs and tons of single string blistering. ‘Come On In This House' crashes in with a huge jangling of notes before the old familiar riff is introduced and Enrico stretches the strings  punching in some power chords and glistening long lingering runs that end in filthy screeching notes that come straight out of a Roy Buchanan solo!

‘Cape Flats' is a beautifully controlled piece of guitar music, layered over a reverberating electric piano and brushed drums, Crivello plays chunky blues licks around choppy jazz chords in the upper and lower register allowing the melody to sneak up and drip into your ears like warm porridge. (Editor's note: Warm porridge? Are you serious?)

Honestly, this is the best guitar playing I've heard this year! Enrico Crivellaro has made an album that we'll be claiming as a masterpiece in ten years time!

 

 

Review Date: May 2009

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