A master jazz guitarist and educator from Philadelphia, Jimmy Bruno takes a gamble and records at home with two other musicians and no piano or drums in the rhythm section. In fact he provides an intimate setting for an interesting marriage of guitar, vibes, and bass that works to perfection. Joining Bruno in his house is Tony Miceli on the vibraphone, and Jeff Pedras on the bass forming one tight trio that play well off each other.
To produce the missing percussive sound the liner notes state that "Jeff was asked to exaggerate the percussive elements of the bass, a style called "slap bass". The result is a sound that plays so well you don’t realize you’re missing the drums.
Maplewood Avenue turns out to be a beautiful album of light warm jazz played to the heart by the guitarist and band mates. The recording offers nine tunes and except for "Bach Sonata Trio," all are original compositions from the trio.
The music opens up with maybe the two best cuts in the title tune "Maplewood Avenue," where the guitarist strums the strings as Miceli takes over setting the stage for Bruno’s inevitable lead riffs and an appreciable showing from bassist Perdas. My favorite track is without question the Brazilian-shaded bossa of "East Street Bossa," showcasing the talents of Miceli with a tasteful solo run on the vibes in a delicious number that I find myself playing often.
"Song For Meg," plays like a slow love ballad offering Bruno the center stage for some beautiful crisp chords while the following track, "Jimmy’s House" moves along in rapid style featuring the guitarist’s nimble finger work on the strings.
Other stellar tunes here are "PA Turnpike," Route 611," and the very melodic piece
"Upstairs for Coffee." If you want to sit back relax and listen to some of the most pleasurable light jazz around, then take a listen to Maplewood Avenue and let Bruno’s guitar sing and Miceli’s vibes dance for you while Pedras hums the bass for one enchanting musical experience.