Best Of The Batch: Andy Rothstein
Artist: Andy Rothstein
Title: Voodoo Tone
Label: Vermicious Kind Music
Voodoo Tone is a labor of love for guitarist Andy Rothstein and former band mate and bass player supreme Tony Senatore. This is Rothstein’s project; make no mistake about that, but Senatore played a major role in helping to whip these great tunes into shape, not to mention all of the other contributors. What you have here are two music studs facing off, digging in, and providing some stellar fretwork. They bounce a lot of incredible music off each other and the result is one terrific and consistent recording.
Rothstein is very adept and technically proficient, providing a very good match for his counterpart on bass. Out of the eight tracks, only two have vocals in accompaniment to the music. “If Not Now, Then When” and “#1” gets an emotional charge from friend and vocalist Link, although the music stands on its own without the need of vocal support. He does a nice job making each track prominent and very special. The rest of the album is pure instrumental magic, every bit of it. Once again, I am hearing the tremendous influence Jeff Beck and Al Di Meola have had on an entire generation of guitar players. More specifically, pointing to Beck’s two masterpieces of jazz-rock-fusion titled Blow By Blow and Wired. In a sense I feel that I have used this comparison one too many times this year. But I just cannot help myself, it is what it is, and it definitely comes up more than once during the run of this CD, especially by the time you have listened to it three times.
This brand of jazz rock fusion comes at you in various, pleasingly funky moods, tones, and textures-slow, fast, ever changing within one composition. You get it all wrapped into one tight package that will impress you and make you wonder why you have not heard of this guy Andy Rothstein before. This sure has me scratching my head. This dude has his chops down. He is very fluid, precise, and above all his approach and style are warm and inviting regardless of what the tempo is. For me, that says it all and I have to add that I never became weary listening to this CD. Rvery time I hear it, I enjoy it more, looking forward to the next spin. How many recordings have you heard that can do that for you? I dare say very few-no, in fact I would be willing to bet you can count on one hand how many for the entire year. That, my dear listener, is what you call a prolific musical experience.
“Brain Power” is the curtain opener, and does it ever cook right along. There is no slow simmer and an eventual build up to a boil; it is overflowing from the pot, it’s bubbling so hard. Rothstein pumps out some stinging guitar licks in this tune and in effect, kick starts the entire album, setting you up for more of the same. I really enjoyed “Retro Fuso,” the title is self-explanatory…anyone for a little fusion? It’s plain and simple: Rothstein takes “Giant Steps” in making himself a known factor in the world of jazz-rock-fusion six-string wizardry and at the same furthers the case for Senatore’s brilliance as a bass player and an all-around contributor to any project.
01. Brain Power
02. If Not Now, Then When
03. Voodoo Tone
05. Retro Fuso
08. Giant Steps
Andy Rothstein-electric and acoustic guitars
Vinnie Zummo-all rhythm section instruments and guitar solo on Retro Fuso
Tom Timko-alto, tenor and baritone saxophone on Brain Power and Mojito
Steve Jankowski-trumpet on Brain Power and Mojito
Bob Nelson-keyboards on Giant Steps
Frank Fagnano-organ and drum fills on Giant Steps
Tom Giola-drum programming on Giant Steps
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