Review: Fabrizio La Piana – Almond and Coffee

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Fabrizio La Piana is a guitarist and composer who is well versed in a lot of styles having played with jazz, rock and metal bands in the past. His new solo CD, “Almond and Coffee,” covers a lot of ground ranging from grinding jazz rock to progressive rock, with addition of ambient music here and there.

Several tunes here have him sounding like a spiritual heir to the guitar guru John McLaughlin. “Funky Song” features him winding up wobbly chords along a lurching beat in the company of bassist Bernhard Hollinger and drummer Niels Voskuil, making for a power trio that is on fire throughout the record.

Almond and CoffeeOn “Almond and Coffee” (the song) La Piana delivers series of spacious licks, with rhythm section providing depth to the overall airy tune. “Forte” has shimmering washes of guitar playing into a sinister theme, while “Pulice” kicks off with tribal drum pattern and La Piana’s noodling.

“50-50” is arguably grooviest piece on Almond and Coffee, which also features La Piana and Hollinger exchanging solos. “Rokin” feels as a slice of laid back guitar noodling with La Piana chipping out springy, twisty notes. After it lulls you in, the song takes a fusion route before eventually closing the album with dreamy, delay-laced washes.

Fabrizio La Piana uses plethora of techniques and abilities here to make a varied and enjoyable record. With “Almond and Coffee” he may not reinvent a wheel, but the record is surely one of the most enjoyable jazz rock releases to come out in 2017.

“Almond and Coffee” is available from CD Baby.

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