PRESS & QUOTES

"Jazz felt completely natural. I was always improvising, even when I was very young. Being somewhat naive, I thought everyone improvised all the time. Jazz was the perfect vehicle to express this natural propensity that I seemed to have."

Adam Smale is a master guitar clinician known for his own fingerstyle technique, which he applies to his redesigned, specialized classical

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Carol Banks Weber    Website   
Carol Banks Weber    Website   

"Jazz felt completely natural. I was always improvising, even when I was very young. Being somewhat naive, I thought everyone improvised all the time. Jazz was the perfect vehicle to express this natural propensity that I seemed to have."

Adam Smale is a master guitar clinician known for his own fingerstyle technique, which he applies to his redesigned, specialized classical and electric seven-strings. A Canadian transplant living in New York City, Smale took his idea for a series of bluesy-jazz short stories, and ran it up and down the scales with an established trio band. He released his first U.S. album, “Out Of The Blue,” out since March 4 on the Ropeadope label.

The music that comes out of Smale’s guitars is both anticipatory and playful, made up of a wide variety of styles and vaguely influential recollections. The author of “New Approach to Scales for Guitarists: A Practical Modern Direction,” Smale coaxes vibrancy in the ideas and the direction of his short story musical tracks, from one to nine. With the exception of a reconfigured, re-harmonized version of Wayne Shorter’s “Yes And No,” the rest of the songs are all Smale.

The expansive vibrancy of the music owes a lot to Smale’s fingerstyle technique, where he goes back to the thumb-pick for every stroke. “It was stepping back and moving forward at the same time,” he described. “I can coax more nuances from the guitar with a fingerstyle technique. It’s a softer approach at times but it’s more sexy.” For the rest, Smale asked the 10-year trio group Tri-Fi — pianist Matthew Fries, bassist Phil Palombi and drummer Keith Hall — to come along.

“Out Of The Blue” is definitely guitar-focused, guitar-featured, but the Tri-Fi isn’t left behind. They trade solos and they lift the body of the guitar work, sustaining melody and floating harmonies farther. Fries, especially, does more with less, almost carrying an entire orchestra of melody throughout several strains of intensive solos and interplays. Smale’s seven-string fingerstyle, however, drives the tone, the theme, and the tempo forward in small, sure steps, occasionally two-stepping around the premises first.

“NYC Love Affair” is a perfect example of the featured artist and the recording band merging together for full effect, turning frenetic energy into mobile play. As Smale lays down the guts of the track, leaving a silky residue with his guitar trailmix, pianist Fries picks up where he leaves off, climbing his own ladder in and out of the traipsing melody before the main attraction returns to restore his own artistic form.

“Original Sin” gives drummer Keith Hall some play, and he laps it up with substantial fills after Smale leaps about exclaiming and querying all over the place, chewing larger and larger pieces of the scenery each time in this bluesy jazz number. At the 2:40 point, he’s building the anticipation for Phil Palombi’s forward-backward bass solo. When Palombi scatter-shots his bass notes, Smale can be heard trying to insert the song’s bones back into the spacial fissues. Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love” provides the model for the frequent exchanges.

Smale’s short stories build from the guts of each subject. The mood naturally compensates as comparisons to earlier influential models creep in. Lenny Breau, Chet Atkins, Albert Lee, Flatt & Scruggs, Pat Metheny, Cole Porter, Pat Martino, John Scofield… from country and Latin, to world music and jazz… it’s all in there. Yes, even some of Chick Corea’s “Spain.” Listen to the Flamenco styled “Jazzenco” and try not to think of “Spain’s” remarkable staccato jumpstarts requiring perfect timing and confident attack, albeit on a smaller scale. Smaller but effective.

“Night Drive” follows the same ominously dramatic but sexually penetrating soundtrack of Tom Cruise’s train scene in Risky Business. All the measures are built around a penetrating, very masculine melodic scope, in piano and guitar underpinnings. It’s the most memorable of the songs from Smale’s debut album, contouring visual shapes and emotional stirrings through guitar distortion, pounding, tamed dissonance, and a repeat of staggering returns home where the melody definitely lives.

Since we came across Adam Smale’s new album Out of the Blue, we have had this masterpiece of jazz on repeat. Adam is originally from Bar River, ON, just east of Sault Ste Marie, and is a highly skilled seven-string jazz guitarist now based in New York. The new album has him accompanied by a trio and is apparently being

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Canadian Music Blog    Website   
Canadian Music Blog    Website   

Since we came across Adam Smale’s new album Out of the Blue, we have had this masterpiece of jazz on repeat. Adam is originally from Bar River, ON, just east of Sault Ste Marie, and is a highly skilled seven-string jazz guitarist now based in New York. The new album has him accompanied by a trio and is apparently being greeted by rave reviews. Count us in on that one. You won’t grow tired of this music, as it is constructed with highly intelligent sophistication, and it has that same soothing and invigorating quality that makes such acts as the Vince Guaraldi Trio such a delight. The stress-relieving album is instrumental with some very impressive and beautiful jazz guitar work at the helm. It comes with our highest recommendation.

Guitarist Adam Smale’s group on (2) plays energetic music in several permutations. “New Start”, a fast tune with a debt to “So What”, kicks things off with Smale’s lush electric guitar flying over a hip, sensitive rhythm section. Elsewhere Smale’s relaxed, flowing style blends well with Matthew Fries’ piano. He rolls along in an easy Martino-Montgomery blues groove on “Blues

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Jerome Wilson    Website   
Jerome Wilson    Website   

Guitarist Adam Smale’s group on (2) plays energetic music in several permutations. “New Start”, a fast tune with a debt to “So What”, kicks things off with Smale’s lush electric guitar flying over a hip, sensitive rhythm section. Elsewhere Smale’s relaxed, flowing style blends well with Matthew Fries’ piano. He rolls along in an easy Martino-Montgomery blues groove on “Blues To You”, does fast, brittle picking on “Autumn Confirmation”, a mix of “Autumn In New York” and Charlie Parker’s “Confirmation” , and jumps on the rhythm like Charlie Christian on “NYC Love Affair”.

Then there are the change-ups. “She Knows Me” is a lovely ballad with elegant slow guitar, “Night Drive” is a detour into heavy progressive jazz-rock and “Jazzenco” is a flamenco theme that turns into a swirling jazz waltz and gives Fries an extended spot to solo against Smale’s classical 7-string guitar. Phil Palombi and Keith Hall make a scrappy, sentisivtve rhythm section and the entire session shows off Smale’s ability and imagination.

Adam Smale
Out Of The Blue (Ropeadope)

It’s easy to not be boring, and there’s proof: Out Of The Blue, the inaugural U.S. release from Canadian seven-string guitarist Adam Smale. Smale and company—pianist Matthew Fries, bassist Phil Palombi and drummer Keith Hall—they throw some different stuff in, and it works. Smale’s arrangement of the Wayne Shorter tune “Yes Or No,”






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Downbeat - Brad Farberman    Website   
Downbeat - Brad Farberman    Website   

Adam Smale
Out Of The Blue (Ropeadope)

It’s easy to not be boring, and there’s proof: Out Of The Blue, the inaugural U.S. release from Canadian seven-string guitarist Adam Smale. Smale and company—pianist Matthew Fries, bassist Phil Palombi and drummer Keith Hall—they throw some different stuff in, and it works. Smale’s arrangement of the Wayne Shorter tune “Yes Or No,” for instance, bounces between dark, introspective post-bop and brisk bebop. After an ominous solo-piano intro, “Night Drive” becomes a gloomy, biting cut of slow, swinging rock, replete with distorted guitar from Smale. And “Jazzenco,” which sees Smale switching over to acoustic, is exactly what it sounds like: a sly, funky mix of jazz with flamenco music.

The opening “New Start” and closing “Original Sin” sound like cousins, a pair of soulful bop pieces arranged for just guitar, bass and drums. “Blues To Yous” is a greasy, down home blues that struts and glides, and features an appropriately earthy solo from Palombi. The fast swinger “Autumn Confirmation” places a melody inspired by “Confirmation” on top of the chords to “Autumn Leaves.” The terrifically titled “She Knows Me” is a ballad that leaves out piano and ends with just the lonely hum of an amp. And period of time. It just sounds that way.

“NYC Love Affair” lives up to its name: Its head is a bouncy, playful, complicated mess. While much of the album is comparatively low-concept, a few ambitious pieces can push an album from solid to memorable. Out Of The Blue, or parts of it, will stick in your mind. Where will Smale, who moved to New York in 2009, go from here? In the direction of “Night Drive” would be an interesting choice: That song’s harder style suits him well. —Brad Farberman

Out Of The Blue: New Start; Blues To Yous; Yes Or No; Jazzenco;
Night Drive; She Knows Me; Autumn Confirmation; NYC Love Affair;
Original Sin. (58:20)
Personnel: Adam Smale, guitar; Matthew Fries, piano (2–5, 7–8);
Phil Palombi, bass; Keith Hall, drums.
Ordering info: ropeadope.com

Adam Smale's a Manhattanite by way of Toronto, and the guy's amazingly nimble-fingered with an unusually light touch that nonetheless commands attention. Playing a 7-string guitar and fingerpicking, hence the loss of hard edges obtained with plectrum, his main influence was Lenny Breau, but there's a lot of Tal Farlow here as well, not to mention Martino, Bickert, and others.

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Mark S. Tucker    Website   
Mark S. Tucker    Website   

Adam Smale's a Manhattanite by way of Toronto, and the guy's amazingly nimble-fingered with an unusually light touch that nonetheless commands attention. Playing a 7-string guitar and fingerpicking, hence the loss of hard edges obtained with plectrum, his main influence was Lenny Breau, but there's a lot of Tal Farlow here as well, not to mention Martino, Bickert, and others. Too, Smale pays attention to Eddie van Halen and other mega-talented axehandlers, so that just-outside-of-jazz inflection and even occasionally fusiony vibe you hear every so often has interesting roots. Adam never got to meet his idol, Breau, as the tormented guy passed on way the hell too young at the age of 43 (strangled and at the bottom of a pool in a case that remains unsolved, though his wife is still the chief suspect), but he managed to work with Lenny's bass player, Don Thompson, who passed on a multitude of hints and insights.

Obviously those advices were well heeded, as the guitarist is daunting in his virtuosic acumen. More, his sidemen in the quartet craft moods, atmospheres, and terrain in which everyone shines. When pianist Matthew Fries steps out, as in Yes and No, the song becomes his until Smale re-enters and shifts the landscape again, counterpointing the keyboardist's whirlwinds back into a combination of thoughtful contemplations and speedy punctuations, pushing the borders of the abstractions even further. Then come cuts like Jazzenco, reminiscent of Al DiMeola's work in Spanish domains, and Night Drive with its distinctly rock/fusion insistence taking Martino to places he never visited, though he came close more than once (hm, maybe if he'd played with Tony Williams…).

In the mood for a ballad? Check out She Knows Me, a night-riven composition that comes almost to a standstill yet imposes itself like a moody pool of blue ebony slowly drifting.

The guitar has become one of the most prolific of the instruments. There's a nexus of individuals standing strong in the field of "Jazz", and what's always most exciting is the entrance of a new member of the community. Adam Smale is one of the serious devotees, and is truly welcomed to the family. In the words of Bill Milkowski,

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Pat Martino   
Pat Martino   

The guitar has become one of the most prolific of the instruments. There's a nexus of individuals standing strong in the field of "Jazz", and what's always most exciting is the entrance of a new member of the community. Adam Smale is one of the serious devotees, and is truly welcomed to the family. In the words of Bill Milkowski, "an exciting new voice on the scene"... take notice!

- Pat Martino

Prior to relocating to the States, jazz guitarist/composer Adam Smale made a mark on the Canadian scene with his 2000 debut album, Fun City. Now based in NYC, he recently signed with noted indie label Ropeadope, and impressive second album Out of the Blue is already notching rave reviews Stateside. He plays a seven-string guitar with a lovely fluency and

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Kerry Doole    Website   
Kerry Doole    Website   

Prior to relocating to the States, jazz guitarist/composer Adam Smale made a mark on the Canadian scene with his 2000 debut album, Fun City. Now based in NYC, he recently signed with noted indie label Ropeadope, and impressive second album Out of the Blue is already notching rave reviews Stateside. He plays a seven-string guitar with a lovely fluency and cites Lenny Breau as a crucial influence. A fine trio accompanies him here. A respected educator, the Humber grad has also published a book, New Approach to Scales for Guitarists. Smale gigs regularly in Big Apple clubs, and let's hope he gets some Canadian fest invites.

Guitar jazz continues to bloom as a still growing musical art form and for fans of the genre, Out Of The Blue is a fine 2014 release from guitarist Adam Smale. On the nine track Out Of The Blue, Adam pairs his 7 string guitar sound with a fine crew of musicians and the results make for an upbeat album

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Steven Silverstein    Website   
Steven Silverstein    Website   

Guitar jazz continues to bloom as a still growing musical art form and for fans of the genre, Out Of The Blue is a fine 2014 release from guitarist Adam Smale. On the nine track Out Of The Blue, Adam pairs his 7 string guitar sound with a fine crew of musicians and the results make for an upbeat album of bop-friendly, guitar-centric instrumental music.

Adam cites fretboard heroes like Lenny Breau, Chet Atkins, Pat Martino and Pat Metheny among his big influences and before he moved to NYC, Adam even got to work with Lenny Breau sideman, bassist Don Thompson. Some of the Out Of The Blue tracks, especially track five “Night Drive”, are somewhat rock oriented while track three, “Yes Or No”, by Wayne Shorter, is the only cover on the all original track lineup here. Commenting on living in NYC, Adam tells mwe3.com, "There is so much great talent funneled into the New York scene, you can’t help but be inspired. Plus, there is something about being here in NYC that changes your playing. I can’t explain it. You absorb both the sounds and energy, and some music history when you’re here long enough."

In the CD packaging Adam provides a track by track account of the album song list while extensive liner notes by Bill Milkowski features interview quotes from the guitarist that takes you on a guided tour of his guitar history. If you enjoy modern instrumental jazz guitar with a number of diverse influences and styles, give a listen to Adam Smale’s Out Of The Blue.

Adam Smale, Out of the Blue: Nifty quartet session, led by guitarist Smale. Shifts seamlessly between bop and modern expressions, getting in some swing, before shifting into electric guitar overdrive and bringing some post-bop fire. An album with a real likable personality, with easy crossover appeal to the various jazz sub-genres. Ballad like “She Knows Me,” is all stars and

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Dave Sumner    Website   
Dave Sumner    Website   

Adam Smale, Out of the Blue: Nifty quartet session, led by guitarist Smale. Shifts seamlessly between bop and modern expressions, getting in some swing, before shifting into electric guitar overdrive and bringing some post-bop fire. An album with a real likable personality, with easy crossover appeal to the various jazz sub-genres. Ballad like “She Knows Me,” is all stars and moonlight on a clear evening, whereas “Night Drive” is a head full of steam. Album builds nicely upon the foundation laid by each previous track, resulting in an album that becomes more enjoyable as it goes along. Good stuff.

(Translated from German)
The Canadian jazz guitarist Adam Smale has a wide musical background and a long tradition as a musician. These various impressions are the perfect foundation to deliver good work in the studio, as his new album "Out Of The Blue" proves.

Hearing the first sounds of the disc one can recognize Smale's influences from great masters such

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Mos Eisley    Website   
Mos Eisley    Website   

(Translated from German)
The Canadian jazz guitarist Adam Smale has a wide musical background and a long tradition as a musician. These various impressions are the perfect foundation to deliver good work in the studio, as his new album "Out Of The Blue" proves.

Hearing the first sounds of the disc one can recognize Smale's influences from great masters such as John Scofield and Pat Metheny. Between the modern jazz sounds you can also hear over and over again elements of, for example, Blues and Latin music. On "Out Of The Blue", he works in a quartet format, which consists of Mathew Fries, Phil Palombi, and Keith Hall. Fries' piano spends most of the time in the background, but masterfully picks spaces to fill in unquestionably enriching the overall impression of the album and provides an alternative and varied sound to Smale's guitar.

The album was released on Ropeadope and is available on his Bandcamp page. (https://adamsmalemusic.bandcamp.com)

Canadian seven-string guitar dynamo, Adam Smale makes his U.S. album debut with the March 4 release of Out of the Blue. Working with Tri-Fi, an established trio featuring pianist Mathew Fries, bassist Phil Palombi, and drummer Keith Hall, he plows through a nine-tune set consisting of eight original compositions and a reworking of a Wayne Shorter piece, “Yes and No.”

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Jack Goodstein    Website   
Jack Goodstein    Website   

Canadian seven-string guitar dynamo, Adam Smale makes his U.S. album debut with the March 4 release of Out of the Blue. Working with Tri-Fi, an established trio featuring pianist Mathew Fries, bassist Phil Palombi, and drummer Keith Hall, he plows through a nine-tune set consisting of eight original compositions and a reworking of a Wayne Shorter piece, “Yes and No.” He opens and closes the album with two tunes—“New Start” and “Original Sin”—played in trio format. In between, the quartet romps.

They do some sweet up-tempo work on “Autumn Confirmation,” a witty conflation of Bird’s “Confirmation” and the changes to the classic “Autumn Leaves,” and “NYC Love Affair,” a love song to the guitarist’s new home. “She Knows Me” is a gorgeous ballad played with touching lyricism, while “Jazzenco” adds an exotic note with its nod to flamenco.

Smale and company have put together a musically vibrant program from first note to last. Out of the Blue is an album with a kick.

Adam Smale is sending guitarists to the woodshed.

His concerts and recordings are inspiration enough, but Smale also gives lessons, makes instructional videos and is the author of an intriguing book. In that book, “New Approach to Scales for Guitarists,” Smale explores an alternative way of organizing patterns on the fretboard.

Smale’s chief influence is the criminally underrated Lenny Breau,

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JACK WALTON    Website   
JACK WALTON    Website   

Adam Smale is sending guitarists to the woodshed.

His concerts and recordings are inspiration enough, but Smale also gives lessons, makes instructional videos and is the author of an intriguing book. In that book, “New Approach to Scales for Guitarists,” Smale explores an alternative way of organizing patterns on the fretboard.

Smale’s chief influence is the criminally underrated Lenny Breau, who was beginning to set the jazz guitar world abuzz before his career was cut short in 1984. (He was found dead in a swimming pool. The case was ruled a suicide, even though he’d been strangled.)

Smale’s style picks up where Breau left off.

Like Breau, Smale has ditched the conventional guitar pick, choosing instead to use four fingers and a thumb-pick for his plucking and strumming. Both Smale and Breau prefer a seven-string guitar to the six-string model, and both musicians came up with ways of blurring the lines between lead and rhythm, melody and chords.

Sometimes, Smale’s academic ideas can lead directly to artistic ones. This was the case with a Smale piece titled “Autumn Confirmation.”

“It started as an exercise,” he says from his home in Manhattan. “What would happen if I took the rhythms that Charlie Parker used on his melody to ‘Confirmation’ and then put my own melody notes to those rhythms? That’s a 32-bar song, so what if I picked a different song with that format, with a different set of chord changes, and superimposed that on top?”

He chose the chord sequence from the pop standard “Autumn Leaves,” and the result sounds a little bit like both tunes, but totally stands on its own as a solid new composition. Of course, it has to work if the listener doesn’t know “Confirmation” or “Autumn Leaves.” And it works like crazy.

“Autumn Confirmation” is on Smale’s new album, “Out of the Blue,” released this month. On Friday, he leads a quartet at Merrimans’ Playhouse in South Bend.

The guitarist’s advanced conception of scales opens up rich possibilities in voicing chords on the guitar, so much so that Smale rarely needs to use a pianist in his bands. For both his new album and this tour, however, he’s added piano to the mix, and it makes for a huge group sound. Jeremy Siskind is the pianist for the present show, along with bassist Andrew Rose and drummer Keith Hall.

The album opens with “New Start,” a stylish nod to “Kind of Blue”-era Miles Davis. Other highlights include a re-harmonized romp through Wayne Shorter’s “Yes or No,” the only true cover tune on the disc. Smale adopts New York patois for the title of “Blues to Yous,” which he describes succinctly: “That is a happy blues,” he says.

Smale is based in New York now, but he grew up in northern Ontario. He speaks like an urbanite, but there’s still an “aboot” in place of an “about” here and there. Likewise, the sound of “Out of the Blue” is fundamentally a big-city vibe, but there are a few traces of rural imagery as well.

His “Night Drive” conjures a scenario that’s part Ontario memory, part movie scene.

“I’m picturing me — or somebody else — in a vehicle, perhaps a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW, something nice. You got the seat back and you’re cruising along and trees are creating a canopy above you. It’s so dark out that you get that tunnel effect with the headlights in front of you,” Smale says. “This is the song that’s playing on the stereo.”

Out of the Blue is the U.S. debut album by Canadian-born guitarist Adam Smale, but Smale hasn't come out of nowhere. In 2000, he released the album Fun City in his home country and received plenty of airplay and critical acclaim and in 2009 he moved to New York and since then he has become a vital addition to the

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JAKOB BAEKGAARD    Website   
JAKOB BAEKGAARD    Website   

Out of the Blue is the U.S. debut album by Canadian-born guitarist Adam Smale, but Smale hasn't come out of nowhere. In 2000, he released the album Fun City in his home country and received plenty of airplay and critical acclaim and in 2009 he moved to New York and since then he has become a vital addition to the jazz scene in the city.

New York is celebrated on "NYC Love Affair," a cool, swinging tune that sways along with elegant guitar patterns and a groove that goes directly into the blood. Smale is supported by the trio Tri-Fi, which is perhaps best known for their strong backing for singer Curtis Stigers, but they also have their own thing going and here they can be found in perfect sync with the guitarist.

Throughout the album, Smale shows great awareness of jazz tradition. He re-imagines the famous riff from trumpeter Miles Davis' composition "So What" on "New Start," gives an original reading of saxophonist Wayne Shorter's "Yes or No" and on top of it all, he combines the rhythm of saxophonist Charlie Parker's "Confirmation" with the chords from the standard "Autumn leaves" in a bold, but successful experiment called "Autumn Confirmation."

It is a testimony to Smale's unique approach to his instrument that he plays on custom-made seven string-guitars and this isn't a gimmick, but rather reflects his need of being able to express himself fully on his instrument without any limitations.

Out of the Blue marks the arrival of a superb guitar stylist who knows the sound he wants and plays with confidence and awareness of jazz tradition and is able to craft memorable compositions.

"Your album is excellent; your playing style on your guitars is unique. I will be playing it more and other jazz DJs will play it for sure."

Jerry Bloom WFCF 88.5 FM   

"Each composition and delivery on this CD offers something not only entertaining, interesting and musically creative, but also art inspired."

Guitarist Adam Smale is an outstanding composer and has written everything on this album except the Wayne Shorter composition, "Yes and No." Often referred to as Toronto's best kept secret, Smale now resides in Manhattan and hopes his latest recording

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Dee Dee McNeil    Website   
Dee Dee McNeil    Website   

"Each composition and delivery on this CD offers something not only entertaining, interesting and musically creative, but also art inspired."

Guitarist Adam Smale is an outstanding composer and has written everything on this album except the Wayne Shorter composition, "Yes and No." Often referred to as Toronto's best kept secret, Smale now resides in Manhattan and hopes his latest recording will introduce him to jazz fans State-side. His technique is wrapped around a 7-string finger style, and he admires the artistry of Lenny Breau, Chet Atkins, Albert Lee, Eddie Van Halen and Canadian jazz guitarists Lorne Lofksy and Ed Bickert. His liner notes also mention Tal Farlow, Pat Martino and Jim Hall as revered influences for Smale.

With solid support from bassist Phil Palombi, drummer Kieth Hall and pianist Mathew Fries, this ensemble comes out the gate 'swinging'. "New Start" is an uptempo, straight ahead piece of music that the entire ensemble can sink their talents into and Smale shines with strength, assertiveness and amazing dexterity. "Blues For Yous" is solidly rooted in its title and the ensemble sounds formidably blues tinged and tightly packaged. It seemed to me that the rhythm section had been playing together for some time. So I checked out their promotional package and sure enough, the trio that joins Smale has been working together for ten years and is known as 'Tri-Fi' on its own. Although Smale takes control of his music and showcases his musicianship brilliantly, this accompanying trio is certainly the driving force or 'wind beneath his wings' so to speak. They push his compositions higher with their succinct mastery and musical compliment.

One of my favorite pieces on this project is cut number five, "Night Drive", that celebrates each musician with a fire and ice arrangement that stretches the talents of each gentleman to their breath and width. It's an avant garde, rock & blues enriched arrangement that burns hot and sticky as boiling grits. At the same time it's cool as refrigerated pudding and just as sweet.

With this debut album, Smale has brought his best flavors to the table. He invites us to sit down and enjoy.

"The USA still loves this rocking jazz sound and Adam Smale brings that influence to his unique sound in a big way."

John Shelton Ivany    Website   

Toronto native 7-string guitarist Adam Smale arrives in New York to present his US debut album Out of the Blue (self released). He cites Lenny Breau as an influence and his pick-less playing style has clear affinities, though naturally Wes Montgomery also comes to mind on the earthy chordal syncopations.

The album sports eight good swinging Smale originals plus Wayne

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Grego Applegate Edwards    Website   
Grego Applegate Edwards    Website   

Toronto native 7-string guitarist Adam Smale arrives in New York to present his US debut album Out of the Blue (self released). He cites Lenny Breau as an influence and his pick-less playing style has clear affinities, though naturally Wes Montgomery also comes to mind on the earthy chordal syncopations.

The album sports eight good swinging Smale originals plus Wayne Shorter's "Yes and No". The quartet is on top with relaxed cooking from Smale, pianist Mathew Fries, bassist Phil Palombi and drummer Keith Hall. All sound good and Fries gives us a nice second solo voice with bop/post-bop articulations of a good sort. Palombi can give us a rootsy solo that is worth hearing as well.

But it is Adam Smale who comes through as the main attraction--a very finessed player who has soul and good ideas.

Adam Smale: Out of the Blue

Here’s a clean sounding guitarist that knows his way around the frets. Adam Smale is in the Herb Ellis/Kenny Burrell line of guitarists, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that. These ten tunes have him in a trio of Phil Palombi/b and Keith Hall/dr bookending his quartet that adds Mathew Fries to the band.

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George W. Harris    Website   
George W. Harris    Website   

Adam Smale: Out of the Blue

Here’s a clean sounding guitarist that knows his way around the frets. Adam Smale is in the Herb Ellis/Kenny Burrell line of guitarists, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that. These ten tunes have him in a trio of Phil Palombi/b and Keith Hall/dr bookending his quartet that adds Mathew Fries to the band. In the trio setting, “New Start” and the “ Jordu”-influenced “Original Sin” display his subtle and understated sense of swing, with deft interplay supplied by the stablemates. The clever back and forth on Wayne Shorter’s “Yes and Know” has the band shifting like NASCAR drivers, while they bop to the beat on the Parker inspired “Autumn Confirmation.” A bit of rock guitar pops through on “Night Drive,” contrasting with an acoustic reading of a lovely latin “Jazzenco.” If you want some inspiring fret work, check this one out.

This is the recording debut for 46 year old Toronto-born guitarist Adam Smale. Now living and working in NYC, the seven-string virtuoso collaborates here with the piano trio known as Tri-Fi. The chemistry they have together is electric and flows with a seamless energy that is fresh and original. Save for the Wayne Shorter composition “Yes and No,” everything here

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Eric Harabadian    Website   
Eric Harabadian    Website   

This is the recording debut for 46 year old Toronto-born guitarist Adam Smale. Now living and working in NYC, the seven-string virtuoso collaborates here with the piano trio known as Tri-Fi. The chemistry they have together is electric and flows with a seamless energy that is fresh and original. Save for the Wayne Shorter composition “Yes and No,” everything here was written by the leader. And he has a witty and creative style, both in his unique finger-style technique and in his concepts and musical vision. This is an album rooted in jazz traditions but firmly placed in the “now” as well.

“New Start” seems a natural place to kick off a recording and finds the stylistic guitarist laying down a groovy and swinging Miles Davis “So What” kind of aesthetic. Smale’s liner notes state the tune was full of optimism and positive energy. A bright tone color and shimmering chords translate those emotions well. Next up is a cut called “Blues to Yous.” It’s a bluesy slow burner that maintains that upbeat perspective and spotlights Smale’s Pat Martino/Wes Montgomery melodic leanings. “Yes and No” is an interesting cover choice where Smale takes the Shorter classic and runs it through its paces. It’s an energetic and wiry piece, with enough rhythmic and structural twists and turns to keep one on their toes. “Jazzenco” follows and is Smale’s attempt at his own interpretation of jazz influenced Flamenco music. The rhythms are tight and spot on, with the leader’s authentic chops serving the Latin mood very well. It is also interesting to note that the guitarist built his own acoustic seven-string classical that is played on the piece. “Night Drive” is next on the track list and shifts the musical mood once again suggesting a cinematic late night cruise through the back roads of one’s mind. Significant here is Smale’s use of distortion and ambient tones. The asymmetrical feel and additional piano colorations by Matthew Fries help set the overall tension. The somewhat sad ballad “ She Knows Me” centers on unrequited love and is a nice pairing of Smale’s thoughtful and reserved chordal ideas and Phil Palombi’s resonant bass lines. “Autumn Confirmation” is a testament to Smale’s creative writing acumen. Here he combines the skeleton of Charlie Parker’s “Confirmation” and combines it with the chord sequence of “Autumn Leaves.” This is a swinging tune within a tune that really works. The Canadian transplant dedicates a tune to his move to Manhattan with “NYC Love Affair.” It’s a loose modal kind of thing that bebops along in a very urbane and brisk manner. This is the quartet at the peak of their powers, with everyone shining in the spotlight. Smale concludes the program here with a piece called “Original Sin.” Based on the changes to “What is This Thing Called Love,” Smale plays inside and out as the band grooves and swings at a smooth and well measured tempo.

Adam Smale is a consummate guitar stylist that is bridging the gap between respecting the past and observing jazz and improvisational music’s present and future.

By Eric Harabadian (Jazz Inside Magazine)

Out of the Blue
Here is seven-string jazz guitar heaven from a guy who gets the traditions while also writing great new songs. He references plenty of classics, including opening with "New Start," a rewrite of "So What." Each song builds perfectly, and Smale solos splendidly over his polished Quartet's (Trio) backing. He shines whether it's rapid-fire bop or a

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John Heidt    Website   
John Heidt    Website   

Out of the Blue
Here is seven-string jazz guitar heaven from a guy who gets the traditions while also writing great new songs. He references plenty of classics, including opening with "New Start," a rewrite of "So What." Each song builds perfectly, and Smale solos splendidly over his polished Quartet's (Trio) backing. He shines whether it's rapid-fire bop or a gorgeous ballad like "She knows Me."

ADAM SMALE/Out of the Blue: Not many people cite Lenny Breau as an influence anymore, and the grossly under rated late guitar man certainly deserves a better fate than that. Enter this guitar man that keeps the flame alive as well as fans it. A jazzbo throughout, Smale plays with the kind of fire that’s more important than technical precision.

...more
CHRIS SPECTOR    Website   
CHRIS SPECTOR    Website   

ADAM SMALE/Out of the Blue: Not many people cite Lenny Breau as an influence anymore, and the grossly under rated late guitar man certainly deserves a better fate than that. Enter this guitar man that keeps the flame alive as well as fans it. A jazzbo throughout, Smale plays with the kind of fire that’s more important than technical precision. Hey, don’t go thinking there’s a bunch of clams here because there isn’t. It’s just hot stuff that isn’t afraid to vary things on a moments notice and hit the right notes throughout. A solid guitar date sure to have sitting down jazz fans bouncing in their seats. Hot.

CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher