Originally from Philadelphia, but now based outside Nashville, guitarist Bob Sabellico returns with the satisfying new album, Influence. With Sabellico playing all the guitars, keyboards, and bass, Influence is a thoroughly clean and fresh selection of thirteen original pieces. Bob is joined by Dennis Chambers, Will Kennedy, Todd Sucherman, Terry Silverlight, Raymond Massey, Nicole Marcus, Ray Gonzales on drums and Michael Whittaker on Keys and Jeff Scot Wills on sax.
The album opens with "Funky BS," an enthusiastic track with popping bass guitar and a heaving horn section. "Disfunktion" quickly thrusts into Return To Forever territory with spacey exploratory strokes. Instantly accessible, "Diversions" showcases Sabellico's facility with melody. The song shifts to a breezy middle section before jumping back to the original thought-out plan. An ascending piano, played by Michael Whittaker, perfectly balances the acrobatic display by Sabellico.
"Morningtide" is a busy little mover with piercing guitar lines and a return of the horns.
The album comes to a close with "Forgotten Times," delivering a sense of stately elegance and layered sonic nuances. "Forgotten Times" is as infectious and clever as an album closer needs to be.
Influence is a classy collection of spirited and well-arranged pieces, always grounded by Sabellico's imaginative guitar work.
Robert Lawson is the author of Wheatfield Empire: The Listener's Guide to The Guess Who (2020).