Review: Enrico Crivellaro – Freewheelin’

Posted on: Monday, Oct 1, 2012


Enrico Crivellaro – Freewheelin’

(Electro-Fi Records: Electro-Fi 3427)

Here’s a great instrumental album from the extremely gifted Italian guitarist, Enrico Crivellaro, following up the wonderful “Mojo Zone” . . . 75 plus vocal-less minutes of music might be hard-going for some, but the variety on the 12 tracks here and the sheer quality of the arrangements and playing put “Freewheelin'” firmly in a ‘must hear’ category.

Crivellaro is accompanied by a fine group of musicians, namely: Pietro Taucher (keyboards), Simone Serafini (bass), with the drum duties split between Carmine Bloisi and Silvio Berger, who provide sterling support to the ever-impressive guitar work. Comparisons can be made with the great Ronnie Earl, who also has been known to stretch out instrumentally.

The liner notes give background details of the tracks, with firm ‘nods’ to several of Enrico Crivellaro’s heroes and influences . . . hence the music on offers includes some classic blues, jazz and soul touches and more. Things get off to a rip-roaring start on the uptempo blues of “Blackout”, with fiery leads on top of some nice rhythm guitar and Pietro Taucher’s piano; the following jazzy shuffle “Super Cooker” sees Taucher laying down some glorious Hammond C3, while Crivellaro’s guitar work swings like crazy.

An evening spent in the company of the late Junior Kimbrough is recalled on the trance-blues of “Chulahoma”, where the Mississippi hill country blues giant’s “Nobody But You” is quoted – not as a steal but a tribute. The lengthy and spacy “Forever Free” is dedicated to Duane and Gregg Allman – again it features some absolutely delightful guitar work. A highlight is the excellent “One For Lucy” – a full-on tribute to Albert King, full of those bends that characterised the blues giants guitar work.

Pietro Taucher’s composition “Popcorn Jack” is a funky showcase for his playing, although Enrico Crivellaro contributes a stunning solo on it; the pace is taken up on a rollicking version of Earl Hooker’s “Universal Soul”, whick features some fine drumming from Silvio Berger and again Crivellaro’s raging, but tasteful, guitar fireworks. Tribute is paid to the late soul giant, Solomon Burke, on “Hymn To King Solomon” – the album was being recorded when the sad news of his death came through – the track opens with an intense guitar salvo after which the band stretch out over eight minutes plus.

The slow blues of “Can You Dig It” is another lengthy number as the musicians again let the music do the talking; it’s followed by a lovely version of Duke Ellington’s “In A Sentimental Mood”, with the guitar playing again being most tasteful. “Freewheelin'” ends with the mysteriously titled “Mr Willits Playboy”, that stems from an on the road story which is not explained in the notes! It’s another swinging blues, that brings to an end a most enjoyable 76:18.


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