The album title may not intimate that there are quite a few intricacies going on under-the-hood. Essentially, venerable jazz guitarist Bruce Arnold reformulates and reengineers customary time signatures with manipulations of standard blues forms. However, from a sky-view, it's an album that is nestled within progressive-jazz stylizations. But Arnold's numerous slants and acute rhythmic permutations generate an irrefutable contrast to the norm.
Here, drummer Tony Moreno and bassist Dean Johnson provide more than just rhythmic support. Indeed, they are vital contributors. With scrappy interplay amid a fluent manner of soliciting call and response mechanisms, the trio surges forward, retool, and reconstruct the jazz-blues idiom with sinuously crafted departures.
Arnold is a fiery yet thoughtful soloist. His compelling compositions are built upon fragmented swing vamps, soaring opuses and animated thematic developments. In effect, the band rockets skyward, hovers back to a plateau, and morph sizzling dialogues into untraditional blues grooves.
On "In and Out," Moreno launches a series of fluctuating patterns and shines as a prominent foil. And they shift gears during the Gb blues titled "Sassy," where the trio takes a top-down approach via a loosely articulated and smooth sailing type motif. Moreover, Moreno dishes out a polyrhythmic splash towards the finale.
Arnold has emerged into a thinking-man's guitarist. Simply stated he knows his stuff, and knows how to execute at a higher level. On this album he extends the guitar aspects into a democratic group-centric ideology. Besides the apparent headiness and technical details, The Art of the Blues materializes as a hugely entertaining session.