Chris Vasi | Vesuvius

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United States - Virginia

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Jazz: Contemporary Jazz World: World Fusion Moods: Featuring Guitar
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by Chris Vasi

"One of the best world-jazz recordings of the year: Latin, West African, funk, and bop elements in a tasty blend." -- (Global A Go Go host Bill Lupoletti, WRIR-FM Richmond)
Genre: Jazz: Contemporary Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Guateque Campesino
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3:51 FREE
2. Reincarnation of a Lovebird
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5:05 FREE
3. Guillermo
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3:35 FREE
4. Dat Dere
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5:20 $0.99
5. Pop N Fresh
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5:36 $0.99
6. Epistrophy
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2:30 $0.99
7. Nha Tchon
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5:44 FREE
8. Because
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3:02 $0.99
9. Gypsy Waltz
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2:42 album only
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
Chris Vasi brings an easygoing virtuosity to his performances. His mastery of the guitar is the result of decades of musical obsession, study, and playing experiences. Chris is fluent in a variety of styles, including modern and vintage jazz, rock, funk, blues, and world music. This album includes . . . . .

Guateque Campesino - the old Cuban song recently sung by Ibrahim Ferrer (Buena Vista Social Club) re-imagined as a guitar instrumental.

Reincarnation of a Lovebird - Charles Mingus' incomparably beautiful hard-swinging masterpiece.

Guillermo - so many sounds converge into this 3-1/2 minute Vasi composition. Percussion (Cuban cajon and Brazilian pandiero) lays the foundation in a 9/8 rhythm (4+3+2) reminiscent of Greek or Turkish music. Soprano sax states the melody (shades of Weather Report?). Above all that, Vasi's bottleneck slide recalls American Delta blues, with a touch of Indian raga. This is what could be called "otherworld music".

Dat Dere - a tip of the ol' hat to 1960's Blue Note jazz.

Pop N Fresh - another Vasi composition using angular lines and surging rhythms.

Epistrophy - Vasi is an incurable Thelonious Monk fanatic, and this one has been revised as a sinister blues.

Nha Tchon - this Cape Verdean tune features nice guitar and saxophone interplay and a fiery nylon-string solo.

Because - presents the Beatles song as a 2-mandolin duet that sparkles like a jewel.

Gypsy Waltz - a Django-inspired acoustic piece.

Chris Vasi: guitars, ronroco, mandolin
Roberto Curtis : tenor, soprano, and baritone saxophones
Carter Blough: upright bass
Drex Weaver: drums, cajon, pandiero

recorded at Minimum Wage Recording, Richmond , VA
cover art by Charlotte Vasi


to write a review


This album provides a mix of wonderful music that defies cataloguing as one "genre". the guitar playing is the best I've heard. The artists blend their talents to present a cohesive sound that is sophisticated, fun and very intriguing. A real mix of musical style with incredible talent. Great listening!

Gringo Starr

Apolonia - NOOOO!
Richmond guitar virtuoso Chris Vasi’s latest effort “Vesuvius” is a polysonic homage to American roots – jazz, folk, Euro, and southamericana. Each song is its own independent movement, and yet the album as a whole exemplifies Vasi at the height of his interpretive powers.

The band pulls out of the station at full speed with “Guateque Campesino”. Vasi’s guitar establishes its leadership without trampling any of its mates underfoot. After two obligatory solos and some extended guitar/sax interplay, Vasi introduces a nylon string acoustic to bring the song home. The listener is in his pocket.

If you’ve seen Vasi and his talented ensemble live you understand immediately why they choose to groove interchangeably in 9/8 and 7/8. It’s the same reason a Wheaten Terrier licks his own balls – because they can! On the polyrhythmic stomp “Guillermo”, the band injects quintessential American sounds - Coltrane’s sax and Cooder’s slide guitar -into to a clapping and stamping Brazilian jam. Unless you are a math rocker and couldn’t help counting along, Vasi and his troupes implore you to sit back and let them do the work. The song’s gimmick never feels forced or unnecessary. It is Vasi’s proudest moment on the record

“Pop N Fresh” is a jazzy funk tune imploring you to get off your ass and boogie. Though the guitar and sax lead the charge, Vasi’s tight, focused rhythm section propels the sound between mellow section breaks. Vasi’s guitar solo yearns for B.B. King. The bari sax outro is the album’s lone disappointing moment – a song this strong deserves a big splash at the end.

Vasi would be remiss to ignore his own cultural homeland, especially on an album named for the fabled Italian city. Indeed, after touring the likes of Harlem, Rio de Janeiro and El Paso, Vasi makes a brief detour the Mediterranean boot. His interpretation of the Abbey Road’s “Because”, soaked with weeping mandolin and punctuated with a hint of a manic electric guitar, could have been the soundtrack to Michael Corleone’s retreat after a car bomb mangles his first wife and ends his exile in the old country.

The album features several other gems, including tributes to Mingus and Monk, that deserve more articulate praise than from this jazz novice. Nevertheless, its greatness is apparent to any casual listener.

Give “Vesuvius” a spin.