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Jazz Reviews : A Gentle Pisano and Stockwell Get a Jolt

As Wednesday night’s temblor provided a pretty good jolt to the small Comeback Inn in Venice--though it left no visible damage--it was amazing that guitarists John Pisano and John Stockwell could even continue to play, let alone complete the interrupted song “Cascades” with invention and musicality. But those qualities were in abundance during the lengthy one-set performance that revealed two artists with very diverse perspectives often coming together as one.

Pisano, who has deep be-bop roots, used a classic and open bodied jazz guitar, getting a dark, steely sound on the latter. Stowell, an Oregonian with a flair for impressionistic forays, used a solid-body electric model that, by employing a synthesizer, at times sounded like an electric piano and a steam calliope as well as a ringing-toned guitar.

Standards like “Stella by Starlight” and “You and the Night and the Music,” along with Brazilian items such as “O Grande Amor” and “Picture in Black and White,” with Stowell playing the melody, followed by solos, made up the program. Pisano’s firm rhythmic sense and keen melodic conception served as contrast to Stowell’s proclivity for fanciful flight, but on “You and the Night” and “One Night Samba” both men played more as one than two.

Though the accompaniment of a bass player and drummer was occasionally missed, the mostly gentle sounds the men offered reminded us what quiet music can do--relax the mind, and ease the commotion that makes up so much of our daily life.

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