Thoughts by Albert Calvo – reviewed by Chris Mann
Guitarist and composer Albert Calvo
began his music career at the age of seven and very soon was playing
the popular songs of the day. In
high school, Albert formed a band that successfully supported and
played alongside many top Australian artists.
The encouragement of many of these artists led Albert to move
to Sydney to pursue a passion in classical guitar.
During the next 8 fruitful years, he studied with some of the world's
finest classical musicians including Dr. Peter Calvo, Turibio Santos,
Oscar Caseres and John Williams.
He performed in the premier performance of Australian Composer
Peter Sculthorp's "Conquest of Mexico" which was headed by
the late great jazz guitarist Joe Pass and classical guitar virtuoso
Albert then became artist in residence for the North Queensland Arts
Company and began to turn his interest to jazz music.
Composition and songwriting became an integral part of his new
direction which has led to the release of his debut CD "Pass it
On" and more recently "Second Thoughts".
Albert has a
very mellow touch on electric guitar – compare him to Chieli Minucci
maybe – and his sound works perfectly on the bright opener Late
Last Nite. The tune has some nice funky touches – the tenor sax is
very upfront and the “guitar heroes” break in the middle makes me
smile. The whole song
makes me smile in fact… The title track is funky but with a hint of
latin and it drives along just fine with Christopher Soulos’ smooth
bass and some great off-the-beat playing by ace drummer Chad Wackerman.
It’s sunny stuff and Noel Elmowy’s touch on the keyboards
and behind the desk is just right to these ears.
is a more relaxed, bluesy song. Melodically
it’s very strong and I find myself comparing Calvo’s clean sound
with some of my favourite guitarists.
Listen for Michael Rose getting’ country on that steel pedal
guitar. You’ll be
forgiven for thinking Carlton’s walked in on Fred’s Blues.
The smoky organ is atmospheric – my God so is that sneaky
muted trumpet solo. Steve
Gadd’s lazy snare leaves the soloists lots of room – beautiful.
has a gentle dance beat and a very simple bassline. It’s also got some great percussion which gives a pretty
break before the groove – and the guitar – move up a gear. I’d love to hear this performed live, where I reckon it
could gel slightly better than on record.
The less exuberant moments on this album are touching rather
than morose. Impressions
of Home is a slow and very deliberate song and you need to keep
listening because there are some neat changes in there.
a nice funky groove that grabs you from the opening bar.
That sinewy guitar, the organ, the electric piano and the muted
trumpet just ride this big beat like crazy Aussie surfers on a big
I was almost expecting to hear Astrud Gilberto on the intro to
the dreamy Same Day Samba.
I was glad to finally hear Calvo on acoustic guitar and I’d
like to hear more of his acoustic work.
Soulos’ bass momentarily steps forward before the long vamp
out with vibes, nice percussion and breathy Shakatak-style female
is very bright and “up” tune which moves around a lot and features
that pedal steel guitar again. Highlight
is Elmowy’s very slick electric piano solo.
I think Mr. Calvo must have liked some 70’s funk because the
groove on Reunion is dangerous.
I want to hear Soulos’ bass a lot more.
He is knockout on this song.
His lines double up with guitar and sax alternately like Wayman
Tisdale. This song is the
bomb – I’m even nodding my head while I’m scribbling notes.
Land Richards’ drumming on Norman Brown’s albums has always
done it for me and it sure as heck does here.
Oh yeah, the 70’s jazz-funk vibe is alive.
Tee Hee is a country rock boogaloo which belongs in a
“Dukes of Hazzard” chase scene.
It’s done with great humour – and stunning musicianship!
The radio edit of Late Last Nite doesn’t have the
“guitar heroes” break and is certainly more suitable for airplay
as a result.
Calvo’s second solo album, as far as I’m concerned, he’s already
in the big league. If you’ve enjoyed the music of Steve Laury, Russ Freeman,
Chris Standring or Chieli Minucci, I urge you to hear this. Calvo wrote or co-wrote all the music here and has assembled
a group of musicians who should be household names. Aussie’s will know what I mean when I say I’m stoked!
Music – no cat no. – Producer Noel Elmowy