Comin’ On Strong CD Review

Comin ‘On Srrong!
(Time Is Records)

Nov, 1990

Guitarist Robert Conti is not an overnight success, but this debut shows great promise. Honing his skills in Florida and California, Conti has not adapted to the laid-back styles associated with those states. He’s a pretty aggressive player with his own style and this CD should get him such well deserved attention.

“The Rookie Bookie” is a relaxed blues, Mitten by Conti. He really gets down to the nitty gritty on this one, with color by pianist Pete Jolly and bassist Andy Simpkins. Jobim’s “Wave” a perennial favorite, is done at a furious pace and features driving drumming by Carl Burnett and a sizzling, yet tightly controlled solo by Conti. A really hot pace is set by the quartet!

“Westbound,” is the only vocal track, written by singer Charlie Clark and Conti. “I’ll Remember April” is taken at a very brisk pace and the musicians have no trouble putting a handle on this one. Rapid solos by Conti and Jolly keep everything on track, without making the tune overbearing. This fast paced approach is obviously the way Conti likes it and it is all very well executed.

“Two Shpeens”, (the title is explained in the CD booklet) is a bossa nova that goes into a swing groove. The flexible Conti handles the two styles with ease. Bluesette, is taken in 4/4 time instead af the usual 3/4 time makes for an interesting version of this song. Conti and Jolly solo with ease, and Burnett adds impeccable brush work.

In “The Shylock,” Conti demonstrates his interpretation of Wes Montgomery’s style, but it has a potent funk, groove to it. “Carnival” is a samba and for my taste, the cymbal work by Burnett felt a little too heavy at times. “Death By Chops: Dis’ll Do It” is a blues that moves with ease. Conti is perhaps a new name to some, but he’s destined to make his mark. The guy has a sense of humor-where does he get those titles?

-Bob Comden

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