Slice of Pi: Slice Of Pi 2000, Eklektic Records The self-titled Slice Of Pi is a jazz fusion jam-fest featuring funkin', groove-oriented improvisation centered around the guitar mauling of Ken Andreoni. The jazz arrangements are primarily upbeat with some cliched, but good, rhythms and progressions that are mixed in with some original, tangential sections for good measure. The guitar chops are not up to snuff with the current array of world class players, but the playing has good direction, continuity, and contrapuntal phrasing. The playing is stylish and has a coherent and complete feel to it. The compositional style is easy to grasp and is easily accessible, but is jazzy enough to keep a musician's interest. There is a good balance between improvisational variation and the repetition in the groove, as well as good movement of the underlying groove progression. The groove does not sit still for too long at all and I definitely like that! Andreoni's guitar style is focused more on playing with the groove rather than on progressive and speedy guitar technique that you might find with players like Al Di Meola or Greg Howe, which is not to say that they can't play with the groove too! But, after listening to world class players like these for so long, Andreoni's playing seems a little bit lacking though I don't want to put him down too much because I still like his style. Andreoni has a good ear for playing with the progression and for delivering coherent improvisation. Stylistically, Andreoni is reminiscent of Eric Johnson in some places, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani in other places, Santana elsewhere, "Pinky Shuffle" reminds me of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "I Know A Little", and just straight ahead jazz fusion of the traditional variety throughout. The band's influences are not listed in the liner notes, so I would be interested to see how this list compares. The compositional style is the highlight of Slice Of Pi. There is good thematic development, variation, and the ground is constantly shifting. Slice of Pi (the group) has a good grasp on jazz fusion arrangement and improvisation which makes Slice Of Pi an enjoyable CD to listen to. There are many catchy musical ideas that are introduced throughout and this is done in a very tasteful, seemless manner, tongue in cheek like the title. The musical themes are tangible and easily accessible yet sophisticated enough to listen to over again on successive listenings, another point in their favor. In summary, Slice Of Pi is entertaining and worthwhile funkin', groovin' jazz fusion, but you are not going to find any blazing speed or virtuoso guitar technique here. Tracks: 1) Far From Funkin' 2) Run Away Trane 3) Con-fusion 4) Walkin' In Tongues 5) Pinky Shuffle 6) Slice of Pi 7) D-Too 8) Alchemy ~ Christopher Ruel ~ www.ChrisRuel.com ~ Chris@ChrisRuel.com ~
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