Greg Skaff: Tropicalia




Greg Skaff (guitar)


East Harlem Skyline (Zoho ZM200902)

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Greg Skaff (guitar), George Colligan (organ), E.J. Strickland (drums).

Composed by Greg Skaff


Recorded: New York November 9, 2007


Rating: 88/100 (learn more)

According to the liner notes, "Tropicalia" was inspired by Greg Skaff's reading of Caetano Veloso's autobiography Tropical Truth: A Story of Music & Revolution in Brazil. Veloso is a musician and political activist and the father of Tropicalismo the melding of Brazilian pop, rock 'n' roll and avant-garde music, poetry and theater in part a protest to Brazil's military dictatorship of the 1960s.

In this classic demonstration of the art of the guitar/organ/drum trio, Messrs. Skaff, Colligan and Strickland prove they are up to carrying on the great tradition of those who went before them. Skaff, with a distinctly Wes Montgomery-sounding guitar tone, starts this piece with a samba-like octave riff that is repeated to set the melody line. The music evokes the image of lightly swaying palms in a windblown breeze. His solo excursions are smooth, mellow and inventive without any flash, in the tradition of the practitioners of this laid-back cool sound. Much-in-demand keyboardist Colligan, besides his well thought-out comping behind Skaff, offers his own brand of cool on a bouncy B-3 solo. Drummer E.J. Strickland keeps impeccable time throughout. As the tune enters the coda Skaff, sounding amazingly like White Rabbit-era Benson in his phrasing, trades riffs with Colligan, as Strickland actively punctuates the proceedings.

This trio gigged around the New York City area together before making this recording according to Colligan, in one sitting. They ably demonstrate how, when the spirit moves, you can cook with the coolness of dry ice.

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello

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