Strive - Daniel DeLorenzo
  1. Gertrude
  2. Strive
  3. Concerto no.5 motif
  4. Pocket Wash
  5. Something Meaningful
  6. Symphony 40 motif
  7. Toil

Strive is the October 2, 2018 instrumental album by Daniel DeLorenzo (Guitar), accompanied by fellow musicians: Theous Jones (drums), Dave Lora (bass), and Doug Sours (additional guitar on tracks three and seven). The album is an exploration of contemporary guitar voicings, mixing modern sensibilities with a traditional jazz feel - and it certainly succeeds. As DeLorenzo states, "My role as a musician is to constantly reach for more as a player, composer, and other words; to strive!"

DeLorenzo wrote all songs on this, his second album, except the third track, Concerto no.5 motif and the sixth track, Symphony 40 motif both of which he arranged from well known classical pieces. He emits a solid musical sensibility and range of style, as band leader and producer on this album.

The first track Gertrude engages right from the masterful intro and throughout. A catchy melody and a nice sense of swing demonstrate his compositional abilities, with some of the album's best guitar playing from DeLorenzo. The contemporary phrasings of his guitar with the traditional acoustic bass is a great mix, and the trio really know how to groove. Drummer Theous Jones holds it all down perfectly, occasional throwing in the most wonderfully unruly fill. My favourite song of the album.

The second track Strive lends itself well as figurehead to the album right from the first burgeoning chords striving to lift-off. There is a lot of atmosphere here with the track rising and falling in intensity. Guitars are at one moment sweet and airy, the next biting and melancholic. Listen for the nicely stated melodic exploration by bassist Dave Lora, part way through the piece providing some nice contrast to DeLorenzo's muted melody and slightly biting solo approach.

Concerto no.5 motif is a spritely played motif arranged by Daniel based on the famous Brandenburg Concerto no. 5 in D major by Bach. Although based on Bach, the overall impression is possibly more Brandenburg Kentucky than Brandenburg Germany - it's certainly a far sunnier take! Nothing Baroque here! It is performed as a trio: DeLorenzo and guest guitarist Doug Sours take turns accompanying each other and bassist Dave Lora.

Pocket Wash is a fast-paced swinging piece, with lightning guitar, a tasty walking bass and Jones' explosive drums all seriously going for it! There's plenty of space, but despite this, it's impossible to sit still. Nice.

Something Meaningful takes us into and all around a great melody; again demonstrating DeLorenzo's compositional skills, but with an edgier side to his guitar sound. Perhaps the most contemporary of all the compositions on this CD, with a slight nod to rock in terms of attitude and guitar tone, and perhaps a wink at funk (and briefly drum and bass?) in terms of percussion.

Symphony 40 motif is an uptempo arrangement based on the famous Symphony no. 40 in G minor, KV. 550 by Mozart. Whilst the motif has classical origins, this piece evokes Spanish flamenco playing, but also has a definite Django-style to it once it gets going. DeLorenzo's arrangement is for two acoustic guitars only, starting with a super catchy 'Hit the Road Jack' rhythm part and Mozart's (very well known) main theme as a lead. Within 40 seconds this has given way to some very tasteful soloing and rhythm work - and by two minutes it's over. If this doesn't make it to a kooky advert for something Spanish (probably a car) somebody is seriously missing a trick!

Toil is a beautiful composition that is nicely paced and harmonically pleasing. DeLorenzo solos over a tasteful bass and a second guitar courtesy of Doug Sours. His use of harmonics is a signature sound of DeLorenzo and he applies them quite effectively here. The production and sound on this piece is perfect: extremely tasteful, at times haunting, and a superb finish to a very interesting selection of music.

The entire album Strive is available for listening on Daniel DeLorenzo's website and for purchase in the usual places: Amazon, iTunes.

Give it a listen and let's hope for much more music from this artist in the future.

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