Frank Gambale: Major Fascination
Frank Gambale (guitar, sound effects)
Coming To Your Senses (Favored Nations 2001)
Frank Gambale (guitar, sound effects),
Hans Zemhuelen (keyboards), Ric Fierabracci (bass), Joel Taylor (drums).
Composed by Frank Gambale.
Recorded: Los Angeles, CA, early 2000
Rating: 91/100 (learn more)
Frank Gambale's "Major Fascination" is perfect for situations where background music is required because, while the sound is adventurous, it is familiar and therefore not intrusive. The group was hot at the session, and once it takes off the improvisations are first rate. Gambale's string skipping and polytonal shredding seem underappreciated in the oeuvre of contemporary guitar mastery; there are several documents of his instruction and playing out there, yet he is likely unknown to most. However, those who appreciate progressive instrumentals featuring lengthy, traded solos and shifting dynamics will find satisfaction here, since the group's heat remains unextinguished regardless of how much it is watered down by dated synthesizer overdubs and smooth surface sheen. The ghost of Jaco Pastorius haunts the basslines, and the group seems to be paying tribute to Weather Report throughout, but Gambale's gutsy playing places him on the same professional plateau as his contemporaries Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. Slow, moody melodies are instantaneously trailed by quick, shifting ones, and Gambale's fingers soar on the fretboard. His racing arpeggios are worth hearing more than once, and this recording provides many rich rewards for those who can pierce its surface sheen.
Reviewer: Marcus Singletary