ON THE BOL/Nick Russo + 11 – Ro (CD)

Guitarist, banjoist and composer, Nick Russo offering up an eclectic mix of straight-ahead, Indian and Modern Jazz, that covers nine exciting tracks on Ro. Joined by eleven musicians and featuring Miles Griffith on vocals, Russo proceeds to deliver the goods via music that ranges from hard-swinging post-bop to free-jazz tinged with colors of North Indian classical music. Three groups are featured on this CD, and you’ll be hard pressed to pick a single favorite from this collection. Included is the swing tune, “Triggered,” followed by Russo’s impressionistic guitar sounds on “Moy Zaichick,” the title slice “Ro,” complete with singing and scatting in exaltation, plus the bossa nova beat of “Dinda,” and Griffith shine on “Mitzvah.” A dynamite drum intro announces, “Untitled,” trailed by the meditative “Little Hands” the latter has Russo on tenor banjo, the tasty “Mmmm,” and ends with the dark piece “Please Come Home” — inspired by Russo’s best friend, Sgt. Alec Petkoff, fighting in Iraq. Outstanding album!

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