It Makes Me Glad
Teddy Pantelas Trio
It Makes Me Glad is guitarist Teddy Pantelas’ long-overdue recorded debut. Throughout, the sound of his Fender Stratocaster unabashedly reveals its late 20th century roots. With a rounded, chorus-pedal-tinged timbre augmenting his post-bop sensibilities, he weaves a broad, yet detailed tapestry. Free of cliché and rife with captivating ideas his music beckons sidemen and listeners alike to venture inward, onward, and outward.
With the opening track, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, his loyalties to the basic tenants of jazz become apparent. Accompanied by journeymen Jeff Grubbs (upright bass), and Darryl Pelligrini (drums), the trio hurtles its way thru the hard-swinging E minor opener with determination and a sense of purpose. An infectious melody, which alludes to the “new thing” Blue Note movement of the mid-60s, gives way to probing solos by Pantelas and Grubbs, empathic traded eights, and ultimately a grand return to the head. At its end, the listener is left with the impression of a great musical expanse having already been traversed.
Though hardly necessary, the appearance of burgeoning ace trumpeter Sean Jones on two of the eight tracks clearly augments the program. Kickin’ Back, comes off at once as complex, yet organic and accessible. With its angular melodic leaps, rhythmic twists and turns, and alternating urban grooves it could easily be mistaken for something out of Mike Stern’s songbook. Tonga’s Screams of Joy is a haunting, introspective excursion of considerable intensity--despite the fact that its dynamics rarely exceed mezzo forte. Jones’ presence on this pair of tunes provides a welcome contrast--ameliorating Pantelas’ generally soft-spoken guitar. However, with Split Second the cagey guitarist raises his voice a few clicks--kicking in the distortion pedal midway through his solo—opening the door to another side of his persona.
The remainder of the tracks include a pair of Latin-based tunes (Hercules Hercules and It Makes Me Glad) and two dedications--a ballad (Lee Ann’s Gift), for Lee Ann Ledgerwood, and the funk-rock closer (Shooting Star) for Pantelas’ father, George. Throughout, this pensive guitarist digs deeply into the music—revealing a broad palette of melodic and harmonic ideas, and all the while relating directly to the groove, as understated or deep as it may be.
From beginning to end, each track of It Makes Me Glad works on its own merits—revealing a composer possessed of considerable talents, as well as an instrumentalist of the highest order. Having taken the deliberate approach to this, his recording debut, a “forty-something” Teddy Pantelas presents himself as a fully-developed, consummate artist--equally thoughtful and soulful in most every respect. As an ensemble, the mutual admiration, deep camaraderie, and sincere love for the music combine to form that intangible something that makes a gem shine brightly.
Rick Popovich hosts The Jazz Sofa
at WYSU-FM 88.5 in Youngstown, Ohio. firstname.lastname@example.org