"The Wishing Stones"
There is no shortage of excellent young guitarists on the scene today, but few of them are as distinctive as Tom Guarna. Guarna's new album doesn't rely on reinterpreting standards or pop tunes. "The Wishing Stones" is full of original tunes that explore new harmonic ideas, varied time signatures, and solos that reveal more with every listen. Guarna's excursions range from languid melodies to mile-a-minute, breakneck romps. The common denominators are fluid runs and gorgeous tone.
Guarna's tunes, many of which were inspired by a trip to Aruba, are unique flights to different musical worlds. The title tune is so catchy, it could have been a hit single back in the days when instrumentals had a chance. No small part of the album's success is due to the excellent support Guarna receives from Jon Cowherd on piano and Fender Rhodes; John Patitucci, bass; and Brian Blade, drums. They are seamless as a unit, but all of them have opportunities to stretch out and they never disappoint when they do.