Mojo Zone
" Enrico Crivellaro "
Electro Fi

Blues Wax 9
Reader Rating 8

Mighty Italian Mojo, (05/14/09)

Mojo Zone is an all-instrumental recording that offers more than seventy minutes of artful performances by Enrico Crivellaro and his mighty bandmates. Eight of these eleven chunky instrumental tracks were either written or co-authored by Crivellaro. The three covers come by way of Kenny Burrell ("Midnight Blue"), Earl Hooker ("Guitar Rumba"), and Mel London ("Come On In This House"). "Say No More" catapults this fine CD into high gear on the Crivellaro/Taucer-penned romp as the B3-playing Pietro Taucer and guitarist Crivellaro jump hard into the groove, setting the tone for the excellence to follow. More high-speed antics proceed on Crivellaro's "Sweet and Skanky" (great title!), where Taucer trades in his B3 for a grand barrelhouse-styled piano. Take particular note of how Crivellaro soars over the solid foundation. Time for a breather on "Last Night In Atlanta," which is a sweet ballad reminiscent of some of Ronnie Earl's best songwriting and, like Earl, Crivellaro slyly and slowly boils this track up to a red-hot scalding finale.

Taucer's B3 returns on Crivellaro's tribute to "Hubert." Check out his guitar attack as this thirty-eight-year-old youngster is clearly interpreting the roots and designing his own vision of Blues. "Casa Babylon" is a very hip, jazzy instrumental that features Crvellaro's Blues-Jazz side and Taucer's double-time work on B3 and piano. Bassist Simone Serafini and drummer Silvio Berger really communicate beautifully on this groovy tune as well. "Blues for Larry Jones" is a straight Blues that exemplifies how much confidence and growth Crivellaro has garnered. It's additionally displayed on Enrico's tasteful interpretation of Kenny Burrell's "Indigo Blues," which has that smoky, late-night club mood.

The quirky cover "Guitar Rumba" is Crivellaro's nod to the great Earl Hooker, and Mel London's "Come On In This House" is scarily explosive, but Enrico takes it down to a whisper only to unleash one of the many fine moments on Mojo Zone. It feels like 4 a.m. on "Cape Flats" as the band niftily fools around a quiet and soulful Blues. The honky-tonking "Dano-Mite" closes this disc in a B3 mid-tempo burn that feels like the band is really enjoying their playing time together.

Six years between recordings is far too long for a talent of Enrico Crivellaro's stature to wait between recordings. His previous solo CD released in 2003 was also on Electro-Fi. Thank goodness we've had glimpses of what he has been up to on discs from his fellow Europeans Raphael Wressnig and Robi Zonca. Let's hope with the anticipated success of Mojo Zone that Crivellaro's recorded output will be accelerated much like his growth as a top-shelf guitarist. Crivellaro is definitely deserving of additional exposure.

Bob Putignano: