Eleonora Strino, I Got Strings Review
Strings of Tradition: Eleonora Strino’s Jazz Odyssey
by Ferell Aubre
Eleonora Strino’s I Got Strings is a set of seven songs that form a luminous beacon where tradition intertwines with innovation. Released on Cam Jazz, this album is a collection of arrangements of standards that journey through the heart of jazz history, reimagined through Strino’s sensitive guitar work. Strino, along with the eminent double bass player Greg Cohen and drummer Joey Baron, has crafted a work that resonates with the soul of jazz’s past while projecting its voice into the future.
I Got Strings opens with Duke Ellington’s “I Let A Song Go Out of My Heart,” where Strino’s refined approach marries the swing era with hues reminiscent of Thelonious Monk. Cohen and Baron’s infectious swing provides a perfect counterpoint to Strino’s intricate guitar lines, creating a nostalgic and refreshingly modern interplay.
“I Got Rhythm” by Gershwin is a testament to Strino’s technical skill as a tasteful guitarist. Cohen and Baron’s pulsating rhythm supports her rapid lines and inventive harmonic chordal playing, creating an energetic yet controlled musical landscape. The track showcases Strino’s ability to easily navigate complex harmonies, painting a vibrant picture of the song’s storied history.
In “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” Strino’s sensitivity shines. Her note choices, drawn from the 1940s jazz guitar lexicon, offer a tender reinterpretation of this classic. This performance embodies the essence of jazz guitar playing, with each note carrying the weight of history and the lightness of contemporary interpretation.
“Estate” by Bruno Martino is where Strino delves into elegant Latin playing, offering a tasteful and captivating solo. The synergy between Baron and Cohen creates a delightful atmosphere, highlighting the album’s ability to traverse different styles seamlessly.
The rendition of Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing” showcases Strino’s versatility, as she effortlessly moves between fast single notes and complex chordal passages. Her understanding of swing time and feel demonstrates her deep connection with jazz traditions.
Baron’s brush playing in “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good” complements Strino’s melodic improvisation, infused with bebop embellishments, showcasing a profound understanding of Ellington’s music. Her musical and melodic improvisation reflects a deep comprehension of the jazz idiom.
In “Il Postino” by Luis Bacalov, Strino captures tranquility and sensitivity, her playing reflecting a balanced, economical, and flamboyant approach. This track is a moment of serenity that highlights Strino’s musicianship and her ability to convey emotion through her instrument.
I Got Strings‘s production and recording quality are notable for their live, in-the-moment feel. The spontaneous nature of the recording session—primarily first takes, in a single day, without overdubs—adds a sense of immediacy and authenticity. The mix is well-balanced, allowing each instrument to shine while maintaining an organic listening experience.
In conclusion, Eleonora Strino’s I Got Strings depicts her original voice on the guitar, transcending influences in a familiar stylistic terrain. The album demonstrates her ability to stand shoulder to shoulder with jazz masters like Cohen and Baron, a remarkable feat for any musician. It’s an essential listen for those who appreciate the delicate balance between honoring jazz traditions and forging new paths. As a jazz guitar professor and an author of educational material, Strino not only performs jazz; she lives and breathes it, and I Got Strings is a resplendent reflection of her deep-seated love and understanding of the genre.