Paul Gilbert - Album Review "Vibrato" by Scott Thomas
Well finally my creative juices are flowing once again and I felt like doing another CD Review today. I wanted to get out of the house after all the Christmas hoopla so to speak. So I grabbed my New Paul Gilbert CD "Vibrato" and headed out for a nice reflective drive in the Texas hill country.
So in goes the CD to the car stereo and up comes the first song "Enemies"...
As I sit here and listen to the tongue n cheek song, I can't help but to think of Frank Zappa. The tune has definitely got a very dark vibe to it. I'm not sure, but I think this song may have a political connotation concerning how many folks are in Jail these days for whatever reasons. There are so many laws and regulations on the books that even looking cross-eyed at someone can have you thrown in jail. As he says in the chorus, "throw 'em all in jail". I did a little homework on this subject to find out there are over six million people under correctional supervision in the U.S., more than were in Stalin’s gulags.
Guitarist Paul Gilbert returns to the Shrapnel Label with his new CD, "Vibrato" which is a testament to Gilbert’s stunning songwriting and virtuosic soloing abilities. This is Paul Gilbert's 12th solo album. The album includes four new guitar and vocal compositions, four instrumentals, and three live cover songs from Gilbert's 2010 "Fuzz" tour including Yes' "Roundabout", Muddy Waters' "I Want To Be Loved" and AC/DC's "Go Down".
Now comes the funky little instrumental number "Rain And Thunder And Lightning". Here we have one those progressive jazz numbers. The keyboards and percussions on this are top-notch. The tune features Emi Gilbert on the Keys and Thomas Lang on the skins and there is little doubt that they have made their presence known.
Next is the self-titled tune "Vibrato". This one is definitely an ass shaker and I dig Paul's vocals on this. I like the Stevie Wonder type rhythm groove. Real groovy per se' with the organ, funky bass, and double octave wah-sounds on the guitar effects. This album my surprise the shred fans because there is a palpable element of ‘70s funk here on this tune for sure.
There is everything here on this new outing for everyone... A coherent alchemy of 70's rock, funk, blues, some tight instrumentals, and a touch of jazz-fusion. This album is a great production as well and a nice change of pace for Paul. His singing has gotten much better over the years. I'm enthralled and captivated with his vocals, harmonies and lyrics, all the while giving total attention to his vibe and ambience.
Now I'm listening to "Put It On The Chair"... This is a progressive rock tune, and also has a 70's feel to it in the style of Yes, Kansas, Styx, Jethro Tull, and bands of that flavor. However, Paul puts his twist on it making it all pure Gilbert.
Ok now, here we have some deep blues. This is song #5 on the album named "Bivalve Blues" and Paul gets deep on this tune. How deep you ask? I mean he is soooo deep that he is way down on the bottom of the ocean on this one as his lyrics suggest. Oh yeah, and there is a wicked blues mojo all over this one. Paul's vocals are emotive as with his git-box playing. The keyboards have that organ / Wurlitzer sound like you are right there in a smoke filled blues club.
The rest of this CD has a few more gems to offer, including "Atmosphere On the Moon" which is definitely my favorite of all. Guitarist Magazine picked his solo on this song as "Solo of the Year" and I have to agree with them. I've listen to the song several times and now I sing along to the lyrics because they have meaning and are very inspirational to the soul. Mostly, in tumultuous times like these... This song is timeless and radio friendly.
And not to go on forever with this album review, but another stand-out tune is Master Gilbert's live rendition of Yes' song "Roundabout"... Paul nails this song and then some. There are few more tunes to include a live AC/CD cover called "Go Down" where he does some cutting-heads with the guitars from right to left channels, and another tune where Paul pays tribute to Dave Brubeck's tune "Blue Rondo A La Turk" that reminds me of the background music in a Charlie Brown special on the boob-tube back in the day when I was a li'l kid... Unfortunately, the master jazz pianist and composer recently past away one day before his 92nd birthday on Dec. 5th 2012. This Kat was an icon and will be surely missed.
I think Guitar World has it right by voting this cohesive collection of thought provoking tunes as one of the Top 50 Albums of 2012.
Paul Gilbert proves he still hasn't stop growing as an all around musician. He is the epitome of a guitar player, composer, singer and entertainer and does all equally well. He is truly an amazing musician. I highly recommend this Album for all music lovers everywhere... Even for those on the Moon. ~ST
Following Paul Gilbert's last highly successful CD, "Fuzz Universe," "Vibrato" is a hybrid instrumental/vocal CD by an important guitarist regarded internationally as one of the greatest players in the industry. Boasting four phenomenal new instrumentals, four new vocal tunes and three riveting live tracks covering artists such as Yes, Muddy Waters and AC/DC, Gilbert once again proves why he is the guitarist's guitarist.
When asked about the style of the record, Gilbert said, "I go further into the '70s jazz-fusion style (George Duke/Billy Cobham/Zappa) than I ever have before. However, I still retain my love of good songs, strong melodies and rock power. There are searing guitar solos, huge vocal harmonies, insane drumming, rock solid bass playing, '70s style keyboard funkiness and lyrics where I have so much to say that I even use the word "fabricate." And, of course, there is my favorite ingredient contained in electric guitar playing...VIBRATO."