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Joe Diorio: “Solo Guitar”

(Art of Life AL1020-2)

Discography | Digital Downloads | About the Music | Liner Notes | Selected Quotations

Joe Diorio: "Solo Guitar"

Joe Diorio: solo guitar

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A Time for Love
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Call to the Center
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Without You
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Digital Downloads {top}

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About the Music {top}

This is the first in a series of five CD reissues from guitar legend Joe Diorio's classic Spitball Records recordings from the mid-70's. Originally released in 1975 on Spitball Records and now available on CD for the first time ever! Includes the original album cover artwork and liner notes exactly as they appeared on the original LP release. Joe performs several standards including Chick Corea's "Windows", Django Reinhardt's "Nuages" as well as the classic songs "Invitation", "A Time for Love" and "Without You". Rounding out the recording are three of Joe's original compositions: "Poem", "India" (inspired by sitarist Ravi Shankar) and "Call to the Center". Joe accompanies himself via multi-tracking on the songs "Windows", "Invitation" and "Without You". All tracks have been digitally remastered using 24-bit digital technology. Art of Life Records is proud to make this long out-of-print recording available to the world once again. Stay tuned for more releases from guitar master Joe Diorio!!

Liner Notes {top}

There is a deep satisfaction playing solo guitar which brings inner strength knowing that all the music came from within you. This magical instrument contains the means to play the complete musical scope: a single melody line, harmony, rhythm and counterpoint. With a few pieces of wood and six strings, man has produced some of the sweetest music on this planet.

I also feel that the guitar is taking a great turn away from the traditional ways of playing which has been so popular for a number of years now. This turn towards abstract melody and harmony will again prove how unique and adaptable this miraculous instrument is.

I would like to give a brief explanation of how my original compositions came about.

"Call to the Center" was inspired as the sun was setting one evening. It reminded me of a holy man calling his people to prayer.

"Poem" came about after much listening to Horowitz playing the music of Scriabin.

"India" is my grateful thanks to Ravi Shankar and his country for the musical and spiritual inspiration they have given me. I tune the guitar differently to give it somewhat of a sitar effect.

The rest of the tunes speak for themselves. "Windows", "Invitation" and "Without You" include multiple tracking on which I accompany myself. "Nuages" and "A Time for Love" are two of my all time favorites. I sincerely hope you enjoy this record.

Joe Diorio

Liner notes as they appeared on the original LP.

Selected Quotations {top}

Vintage Joe Diorio recording that was originally released in 1975 on the Spitball label (SB-2). Some of the other records by Joe on that label were, Straight Ahead to the Light with Steve Bagby, SoloDuo with Wally Cirillo, Rapport with Cirillo and Peaceful Journey (solo). Peaceful Journey and Solo Guitar are my favorites of that series. Solo Guitar is a huge departure from what was generally being played in 1975. The innovations Joe was doing were hardly noticed as it sounded so easy and right. I think Joe is using the middle pick-up as the sound is so sharp and biting. Joe layers a few of the tunes, Windows, Invitation and Without You. The rest are solo. It's hard to believe this recording is over 30 years old. Joe's interpretations are extraordinary not to mention a display of technique that's mind boggling. The layered Windows is a perfect display of what great jazz guitar can aspire to. The recording sound on the CD has much better fidelity than the original record. Joe throws off his runs and 4th excursions with such ease that I shake my head and think, How did he do that?The unusual harmonies, moving lines, and single note passages are truly amazing. Joe's composition Poem has a real 20th century feel to it. 20th century then meant something else than now. You can hear Julian Bream play this and love it. Very compositional. Invitation starts very quietly and introspectively. Joe then goes crazy playing totally mad. (In a good way). I feel this track shows Joe's complete dedication to his craft and artistry. India is another Diorio tune with lots of open strings and a gentle, almost lullaby feel to it, some engaging rhythm and beautiful expression. The standard, A Time for Love is on its own a great tune and here's Joe doing a remarkable version. Still using open strings but somehow it doesn't sound arranged. It feels like Joe is playing everything improvised with a few guide lines. I'm sure Joe played this tune a million times and felt relaxed to try anything he heard. Joe's own Call to the Center is a real gem! What in the world is this man hearing? No restrictions at all. I always thought that certain guitarists like Barney, Tal, Johnny and some others were not trapped by the conventions of the guitar. They played music on the guitar and not just the guitar. Joe is another one who always did that. Without You is the last track with a layered 2nd guitar. It's a lovely ending to a remarkable set of music.

Throughout this CD you can hear the tradition of jazz guitar plus some very unique variations. What is most amazing to me is the feeling Joe gets to on this and many other records. It's a joyous look into the mind of a great artist who probably doesn't even think about that as he just wants to make music. Succeed he does!

Joe has been a friend of mine for a long time. I was somewhat worried that my feeling for Joe would make me ineligible to do a review. I don't think that's true because I loved this record long before I met Joe Diorio. I always felt that this is a very important record.

This is a must for all who love jazz and guitar. I think Art of Life Records is doing a wonderful service by releasing these incredible records on CD. I wonder how many people would try to find these classic records on Spitball as I did.
Guitarist Jack Wilkins - 2006

This Jazz artist's style is fluid, reverent and quietly assertive. Foregoing experiments with electricity, he favors more traditional development of musical ideas and thus his 6-string is not a battlefield so much as a garden. Diorio's music has a mystical quality that is nevertheless down to earth, like tea leaves from which no one tries to draw a conclusion. What's most remarkable is that his utterly clean lines grow even quieter as he speeds up (he never cranks his amp up past mezzo forte). This is a fine release from a too-little-heard musician.
Guitar Player Magazine - December 1975

This record documents a love affair between Diorio and his chosen instrument. He is a very gifted guitarist and here he plays superbly. On "Windows", "Invitation" and "Without You" he makes use of multi-tracking and this is done with undoubted taste.
Jazz Journal - January 1976

A solo album is a rather presumptuous effort, but Diorio manages to pull it off. Diorio phrases much like a saxophonist. Playing in flashes, referring to a chordal structure as he builds his solo explorations. There is some over-dubbing here, but nothing gimmicky, it merely effects a duo setting.
Cadence Magazine - January 1976

Joe Diorio has always been a forward thinking & harmonically adventurous musician and this CD reissue really captures that spirit. His liberal use of constant structure chord changes, open strings & lightning fast fourth intervals does more than just dazzle, it creates a very solemn harmonic atmosphere that's both melancholy & enlightening at the same time. This CD reissue is a standout gem in my Jazz library... I've owned the original vinyl issue on Spitball for years & look forward to future Joe Diorio reissues on the fantastic Art of Life Records label.
Rob B. - California

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