Recommended: Amanda Monaco – “Glitter”


There’s really nothing not to like on this jumping session from guitarist Amanda Monaco.  The easy-going lyricism is the feature that immediately makes its presence known on Glitter, and that’s true whether it’s how Lauren Sevian gives the impression her baritone sax is perpetually held aloft by a stiff breeze or the light-on-its-feet quality to organist Gary Versace’s patter of dialog or how drummer Matt Wilson’s fluid swing can simultaneously feel like the immense movement of oceanic tides and the uncomplicated joy of afternoon sunlight.

This straight-ahead session digs into both hard- and post-bop schools of music, and always keeps the door open for thick blues expressions to enter at will.  Monaco possesses the ability to set a song on fire with a guitar solo, as she does on “Dry Clean Only,” but it’s how she makes her presence known from the thick of ensemble play that really shines the light on her talent.  The way she weaves melodic lines into the fabric of Sevian’s baritone sax on “Girly Day” is a prime example of the benefits derived from this approach.  And then there’s the simple fun when the quartet digs into a groove with all they’ve got, as on the cheerful “The Mean Reds.”  Most tracks settle in the mid- to up-tempo range, and that’s the speed where the quartet is at its strongest.  There’s no enjoyment let-down on the ballad for “Theme For Ernie,” but unrelenting cheerfulness incited by the brisk “Freight Trane” is the kind of thing that forges a strong connection between instrument and ear.

Just one of those solid, straight-ahead sessions that you’ll be glad to have sitting in your music library.

Your album personnel:  Amanda Monaco (guitar), Lauren Sevian (baritone sax), Gary Versace (organ) and Matt Wilson (drums).

Released on Posi-Tone Records.

Music for NYC.

Available at:  Amazon