Eleonora Strino : I Got Strings Review
Eleonora Strino’s I Got Strings is a delightful album that pays homage to the rich cannon of jazz guitar while still allowing Strino to carve her own niche within this illustrious history. Strino, with her ’33 Gibson L7, ventures into the realms of jazz guitar with a reverence for tradition and an eye for innovation, creating a mosaic of sound that resonates with historical significance.
In I Got Strings, Strino is accompanied by two titans of jazz – double bassist Greg Cohen and drummer Joey Baron. With his deep-toned, lyrical playing, Cohen brings a lifetime of jazz experience, having collaborated with luminaries like Tom Waits and John Zorn. His bass lines are a foundation and a conversation with Strino’s guitar. Joey Baron, a drummer of extraordinary finesse and creativity, has a history of working with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz. His rhythms are both a canvas and a catalyst, pushing the music into exhilarating territories. Together, this trio breathes life into seven tracks, making I Got Strings a vibrant, collaborative jazz recording.
The recording quality of I Got Strings, under the skilled direction of producer Ermanno Basso, is a cornerstone of its historical authenticity. The album was recorded and mixed at the esteemed Emil Berliner Studios in Berlin, Germany, with Guy Sternberg as the recording and mixing engineer, and Danilo Rossi handling the mastering. This team’s meticulous approach in capturing the essence of each performance is palpable throughout the album. Recorded in a single day, the album’s live, spontaneous feel evokes the golden age of jazz, when the immediacy and authenticity of performance were the essence of the music. This philosophy, blended with the technical skill of Basso, Sternberg, and Rossi, allows the listener to be transported as if they were in the room during the moment of creation—a sensation that is increasingly rare in modern recordings. The artistic vision and production expertise behind “I Got Strings” are integral to its profound resonance with listeners, providing a glimpse into a day filled with extraordinary musical expression and creative synergy.
Strino’s interpretation of this Ellington classic “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart” is a journey back to the swing era with a modern twist. How she intertwines her guitar with Cohen’s bass and Baron’s drums recalls the interplay reminiscent of jazz greats like Charlie Christian. Her approach echoes the colors and textures often associated with Kenny Burrell, bringing a historical perspective to a well-trodden path.
“I Got Rhythm” is a nod to the bebop revolution, where guitarists like Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow redefined what could be done with six strings. Strino’s fast lines and inventive chordal passages pay homage to these pioneers while charting her own course. The up-tempo swing tempo, masterfully set by Cohen and Baron, also underpins Strino’s technical skill.
On “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” Strino dips into the classic jazz guitar vocabulary with tender expressions of players like Johnny Smith. Her sensitivity on this track and “Il Postino” showcases Strino’s versatility and ability to infuse different elements of the classic jazz guitar vocabulary with a serene and thoughtful exploration, demonstrating how jazz guitar can transcend boundaries and eras.
“Estate” also benefits from Strino’s sensitivity, but with Latin influences in jazz guitar, reminiscent of the works of Laurindo Almeida and Baden Powell. Strino’s playing is elegant, transporting us to a realm where jazz meets the rhythms of the world, a testament to the guitar’s versatility across genres.
“It Don’t Mean a Thing” finds Strino giving a lively homage to the swing era, infused with the essence of bebop’s adventurous spirit. Her ability to weave fast single notes with complex chordal passages echoes the styles of greats like Django Reinhardt and Joe Pass, capturing the evolution of jazz guitar through the decades. In “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good,” Strino delves deeper into the soul of Ellington’s music. Enriched with bebop flourishes, her lines reflect an understanding of jazz history and the swing era’s intricate improvisational language of jazz guitar.
I Got Strings is an enjoyable listen with its historical journey through the evolution of jazz guitar. Eleonora Strino, with her profound respect for the past and sensitive approach to the jazz guitar language, makes this album a must-listen for anyone interested in the lineage of jazz guitar and its ongoing evolution.
I Got Strings
May 26, 2023