A Gibson 335. A classic form for the iconicity of the electric guitar. A versatile, flexible guitar with an easily identifiable sound. An object of industrial design, the risult of a scale production that aims to produce perfect, identical, replicable copies to sell on the mass market. It would seem impossible that any personal art form could derive from this kind of copies. Theodore Adorno would still be convinced of this, especially after his essay on jazz. But music doesn’t give a damn about the Frankfurt school and so, fortunately, we have the Gibson 335. A wonderful guitar, in which the particular construction of the body, the woods used and the humbucker pickups contribute in fact to create a very recognizable sound, with a sweet attack, slightly emphasized on the medium frequencies, a very different sound both from the traditional arch-top guitars (darker and rich in harmonics) and from the solid-body (more ringing and open). The list of musicians who used it to sign their music and their style is so long that I don’t even try to write it, it’s a list that goes beyond genres and musical styles and which, however, sees the entrance of Javier Rosario, young guitar player, a new promise of American jazz.
We immediately notice that this guitar is important for Rosario, because, even before putting the CD on the plate, we immediately find it in the cover photo and in the other two photos inside the CD: It seems thatJavier Rosario can’t be photographed without his guitar. If you look at his website, you will see that it’s still the same situation. Javier and his 335 seem to be one. And he’s right.
If you listen to him playing in a trio, with Zak King on drums and Scott Kiefner on the double bass, you will hear the sound of his 335, a slightly distorted, an almost crunchy sound, the sound that comes from a nervous electric blues combined with a phrasing that would snatch an applause even from the great Allan Holdsworth. He is fast, nervous, conceptually instinctive, almost Coltrenian when he goes off on a tangent and has a nice sound, with that distortion placed at the right point, which does not cover the melody, but enhances it.
Javier Rosario is on his first CD as leader and he does it with this “Javier Rosario Trio Vol.1: A Celebration of Life” where there are undoubtedly several quotes, but where there are also a lot of creativity and new ideas. In this he is well supported by the other two elements of the trio, they are nervous, they are fast, tireless. They convey a sense of communicative urgency, as if they had much to say in a short time. Theirs musical semantics is consistent with the hectic times we are experiencing and expresses a desire and an urgency pushed towards the new, towards an innovation of language coherent with the giants of the Gibson 335. Bravo!
He, rightly, smiles satisfied and relaxed in the photo on the back of the CD, and I hope for a Volume 2.