Frank Potenza, guitar; Bob Magnusson, bass
It's always a risky business indulging one's creative ideals, and in the case of this CD, the concept of guitar-bass duo performance holds that element of empty space where there ought to be, for instance, drums. Well, I'm glad to report that on this CD that space is either nonexistent or meaningful within the context of the material presented.
In a fourteen-track, hour-plus set of very mixed media, Potenza's unique take on what is really standard guitar playing shines as brightly as a well-polished silver dollar. All throughout this CD the empathy and interplay between the two instruments and their practitioners are evident. As early as the second piece, Lee Morgan's "Hocus Pocus," this connectedness is strongly felt and continues unabated. Of particular note, in regard to its rather unusual treatment, is the classic "Tin Tin Deo," wherein the two sets of strings engage in bouts of give-and-take, echoing each other's statements and conversing with each other.
Variety of moods and tempos is another plus here, as found in Henry Mancini's exquisite ballad "Dreamsville," followed by Duke Pearson's all-time Jazz standard "Jeanine." Other familiar tunes include "The More I See You," "Darn That Dream," and a delightful rearrangement an old country and western favorite, "Change Partners."
Potenza has developed a distinctive voice of his own based on a number of mentors, not the least of whom is the late, wonderful Joe Pass, with whom he studied for some twenty years. And the grand finale to this richly satisfying program is Potenza's obvious homage to an idol, Wes Montgomery, with the latter's "So Do It!"
by Francesca Nemko
New Sounds - CD Reviews March 2000