Joe Finn is a staple in the upstate New York area. He has been a guitar instructor and performer for years. His latest release is String Theory with his quartet [The Joe Finn Quartet]. Jeff Waggoner from Jazz Times wrote, “The value and beauty of Joe’s music rewards anyone who takes the time to stop and really listen.” I agree. This disc is definitely worth a listen. Joe’s tone is warm and relaxing, reminiscent of Wes Montgomery and Pat Martino. His sound and cohesive quartet are inviting to the listener.
Finn is a skilled player who blends beautifully with the band. While he displays great chops, Joe is subtle in their use and appears to focus on the song and melody, letting the chops find their way in as his solos build, thus serving the song well. The band swings beautifully and there is wonderful interplay among the members. Piano and guitar really shine together here, and Bassinson and Finn demonstrate how nicely a guitar and a piano can blend.
This CD comprises standards and originals. Standards include “I Get A Kick Out Of You,” [Porter], “Without A Song,” [Youmans], and “Lush Life” [Strayhorn]. Joe shines on the solo guitar version of “Lush Life” [my personal favorite on the disc]. Finn’s skills are versatile, and he flows effortlessly into the modern tunes as well: Martino’s “The Visit,” and Benny Green’s funky “Captain Hook”. Finn’s originals, the modern “String Theory” and the sweet ballad “Never To Return,” stand out nicely as great compositions and compliment the CD very well. Two other tunes round out the disc nicely: “Fietio De Oracio” and “Bolivia”.
The band is incredibly cohesive and they compliment one another very well. Zucchini and Wicks provide a firm backdrop for the tunes, providing solid grooves and swing with some tasteful improv as well. Check out Joe Finn’s String Theory You’ll be glad you did.
reviewed by Eric Elias February 2006