This should appear in the LA Jazz Scene online publication, but it won’t be until December. When that happens I’ll post a link to the review. Until then, I wanted to share.
Reynold D. Philipsek has always loved overdubbing his guitars to create warm and varied musical landscapes. He began on the guitar when he was nine, joined the Musicians Union at 14, and has released over 40 CDs of his originals since 1989. While he has spent periods playing rock, his main focus in recent years has been jazz and Django Reinhardt-style Gypsy jazz. Among his main influences are Django, Johnny Smith, and Joe Pass although he has long had his own sound. Because he is based in Minnesota, he is not as famous as his talents deserve.
On Picture This, Reynold D. Philipsek performs 11 of his originals; six of them played solely by himself. While one song, the moody “Someday Maybe,” finds him joined by keyboards, bass, percussion and harmonica, and four other songs are duets (or a trio) with bass, keyboards, accordion, and/or percussion, the main emphasis throughout is on Philipsek’s guitars.
The concise performances are musical sketches that set moods and rhythmic patterns while creating a variety of colorful ensembles. The opener, “Bohemian Flats,” is both hypnotic and rockish while “Chrysanthemum” finds the guitarist creating more of a Django Reinhardt sound although the song is more modern. “Tango Blue” is a slightly eccentric electric tango. Philipsek switches to mandolin on “Silesian Mist,” jamming over assertive rhythmic patterns played by bass and percussion. “Someday Maybe,” which has Clint Hoover’s harmonica in the ensemble, is a touching and wistful ballad.
“Matka” has Philipsek playing a fluent lead over his guitars and Denny Malmberg’s accordion, “Goatee and Shades” is a swinging minor-toned blues in which the leader’s Djangoish guitar floats over Matt Senjem’s bass while “Rara Avis” (a relative of “Bye Bye Blues”) sounds like a piece that Reinhardt could have written in the mid-1940s. The vamp piece “Vienna Blues” (which not too surprisingly has some bluesy playing by the guitarist), an energetic and danceable “1969,” and the melodic “Pavane” conclude this fine outing.
Picture This is an excellent all-round showcase for Reynold D. Philipsek’s guitar playing and writing, serving as both a recommended acquisition for his fans and an introduction to those who are not familiar with his talents.
~Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian, and author of 11 books including The Great Jazz Guitarists.