Al Caiola, Don Arnone (g), Phil Bodner (cl, fl, as, ts), Art Van Damme (accordion), Eddie Costa (p, vib, bells), Dick Hyman (p), Phil Kraus (vib, percussion), George Duvivier, Frank Carroll (b), Bobby Rosengarden (d), Gloria Agostini (harp)
Reference: BMCD 876
Bar code: 8427328008761
· Collector's Edition
· Issued in Digipack
· 2 Original LPs on 1 CD
· Original Cover Art and Liner Notes
· Stereo Recordings
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit
The name of Al Caiola has been part of that very select fraternity of studio musicians who were heard on most of New York’s top rated television and recording assignments from the 40s up to the 70s. There’s a distinctive style and approach in his playing which made for a “sound.” On these recordings, Caiola joined forces with Don Arnone, another top-class, revered and busy studio jazz and pop guitarist. Both men get the chance to swing on these albums featuring two dozen well-known standards and originals, which showcase how well their unique styles blend.
On the first, “Great Pickin’,” the sparkling ensemble works with bass and drums, while on some tracks the band includes Eddie Costa on piano, Phil Kraus on vibes, reedman Phil Bodner and Art Van Damme’s swinging accordion. On “Soft Guitars,” “Mr. Guitar” Al Caiola and “Mr. Y” Don Arnone are backed by Frank Carroll on bass and Gloria Agostini on harp.
These recordings capture the full, complete warmth of each instrument, bringing out all the highlights, all the nuances, all the subtle interplay that give their playing its special distinction.
"Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away, people actually played the guitar to create soft and seductive moods, and not just to show off how loudly or quickly they could thrash the strings. Here are two albums with the tasty guitarists of studio giants Al Caiola and Don Arnone depicting a style and era unfortunately long forgotten. Review:
The two artists are joined by a teram of Dick Hyman-Eddie Costa-p, Phil Kraus-vib, Phil Bodner-wwinds, George Duvivier/b , Bobby Rosengarden/dr and a vocal quartet for some hip and kitschy reads of “Caravan,” “On The Alamo” and “Blue Lou.” The vocals ooh and ah, which was the style of the day, and it works well. The instrumentals are subtle and sophisticated as they strings glide with Bodner’s flute on “A Tree In The Park” and get a bit Borscht Belty with accordion on”Cosmopolitan.”
The Soft Guitars album is more simple in support, with Frank Carroll’s bass and Gloria Agostini’s harp the only accompaniment. The strings glisten on “Imagination” and are cozy during “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” while casual simplicity oozes on ”I Can’t Get Started” and “Skylark.” Taste and style are in abundance here, and these guys must bathe in lanolin, as their hands sound extra soft. Lovely."
George W. Harris (October 17, 2016)