Thom Rotella: Who Dat?


Who Dat?


Thom Rotella 4-Tet


Out of the Blues (Four Bar Music)

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Thom Rotella (guitar),

Llew Mathews, Rich Eames (piano), Luther Hughes (bass), Roy McCurdy (drums)


Composed by Thom Rotella


Recorded: Los Angeles, 2007


Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

Close your eyes and listen to the first track on the new Thom Rotella 4-Tet album Out of the Blues. The single-line guitar opening followed by deftly played octave work brings you eerily back to the giant of cool, smooth, swinging jazz guitar Wes Montgomery. This is not Kenny G "smooth" by any means. It is almost what one would expect of Wes had he stayed with us. Guitarist Rotella is no stranger to Smooth Jazz, having plied his formidable studio chops on many a familiar if not immediately identifiable song; he has also worked extensively for various film and commercial endeavors. Here, however, he returns to his jazz/blues roots, backed by musicians who have in common once having worked with the great Nancy Wilson. Rotella's uncanny resemblance to Wes Montgomery is not mimicry but homage of the highest order. His rapid single-line attack also strongly suggests another clear influence, the young George Benson. While the blues format can sometimes lend itself to predictability, this music is thoroughly enjoyable, thanks both to everyone's obvious virtuosity and to Thom Rotella's inventiveness in saluting his influences while retaining his own voice.

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello

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