Sunday, December 6, 2015

Carl Filipiak - 2000 "Peripheral Vision"

Carl Filipiak is an American jazz-rock guitarist and recording artist for Art of Life Records. USA. Best known for his jazz-fusion CD's and partnership with world-renowned drummer, Dennis Chambers. His critically acclaimed CD's feature Miles Davis' alumni Bob Berg and Gary Thomas on sax, Will Calhoun on drums (Living Color), Gary Grainger on bass (John Scofield) and many others. (See He was included among a list of renowned guitar players and nominated for "New Fusion Blood" in Jazziz Magazine. He is an author of instructional books for Mel Bay Publications and Balafon Books. His 2013 release "Live at the Cat's Eye" has reached #1 on both jazz fusion and bebop jazz categories on Amazon MP3 album downloads.

Baltimore guitarist Carl Filipiak records for his own small label, Geometric Records, which is probably the reason he’s not better known outside the Baltimore-D.C metroplex. Too bad, because the dude can really play.

Filipiak’s music is probably too brawny for the smooth jazz crowd, but hardcore fusion fans should warm up to it instantly. The guitarist displays a Methenyesque sense of melody and improvisation while infusing his jazz with elements of rock, funk, Latin and blues. His latest release Peripheral Vision offers material from all four of his previous albums, plus one new track ("Forest Flower").

The presence of Bob Berg and Dennis Chambers helps lift the recording. Chambers pounds the skins on all 11 tracks, while Berg adds his slithering sax to three cuts. On some tunes, Filipiak shifts dexterously between electric guitar, acoustic guitar and guitar synth. Besides displaying a keen sense of melody and improvisation, he occasionally cranks up the distortion and rocks out in a jazzy style reminiscent of Jeff Beck. In fact, his cover of "Cause We Ended As Lovers" is nearly as uplifting as Beck’s. Another highlight is the original composition "Nuji," a funky fusion-bop piece.

If you’re a fan of lyrical fusion guitar, you should definitely check out Carl Filipiak.

Whether firing off dazzlingly rapid hard-fusion or waxing rhapsodic through ringing, sweet-toned chords and harmonic touches, guitarist Carl Filipiak constantly challenges the senses on Peripheral Vision (Geometric Records GEO-246; 72:38). The key to Filipiak's vision is counterpoint-Caribbean tones meet driving fusion on "Hotel Real," which packs a big, beautiful percussive wallop; and the guitarist's detailed, sharp-cornered licks on "Song for Irene" contrast the piece's quiet, jazz-walk setting for a touching emotional feel. Other highlights include a tight take on Jimi Hendrix's oft-covered "Little Wing," with Dennis Chambers providing a hesitant, distant-feeling drum punch which opens unique spaces for Filipiak to experiment with harmonies; and "Forest Flower," with its unexpectedly rocking, high-stepping setting, which lends the tune a feeling of resilience.

Peripheral Vision is a compilation of three previously released discs by jazz guitarist Carl Filipiak on the Geometric label. Latin, funk, and fusion are mixed with jazz on these 11 tracks including drummer Dennis Chambers and saxophonist Bob Berg. Along with several original compositions, Filipiak also pays tribute to his major influences Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck. An eight-minute "Little Wing" and Beck's version of Stevie Wonder's "Cause We've Ended As Lovers" are covered.

I have all of Carl Filipiak's work, and this CD is a great starting point for fans of rock, jazz, or fusion. The musicianship on this album is unsurpassed with drumming by Dennis Chambers on every track, and more importantly Carl's guitar playing which is phenomenal. I highly reccomend this album to anyone interested in jazz with a great rock edge as well. Its a must have!  By Dav Mattucci  

Not only is Carl Filipiak an absolutely amazing guitarist, his songwriting skills are top notch. add to that the fact that he has personally taught just about every good guitarist who has come out of Baltimore in recent years. he is a must see live as well - shows are always spontaneous and engaging... By platypus

This release from Geometric Records combines some cuts from Baltimore-based guitarist Carl Filipiak's excellent Hotel Re├íl (reviewed favorably in the Sensible Sound upon its release several years ago) with some older cuts, making this something of a Carl Filipiak retrospective release. Filipiak's name may never be a household word, but his reputation is spreading, based both on his CDs and his live performances. He is a tasteful performer who does not try to overwhelm the music he is playing by engaging in virtuosic overkill; still, his technique is formidable, as a listen to his version of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" readily reveals. He can also be quite lyrical, as he shows on his cover of Stevie Wonder's "'Cause We've Ended as Lovers." Peripheral Vision offers a good overview of the work of this talented and versatile guitarist; I urge jazz guitar fans to check it out. By Karl W. Nehring 

Filipiak's musical style can easily be described in just one word- killin'. His unique tones and creative runs make his style of playing seem above the label "fusion." Soroka's performance on sax is outstanding and appropraite, and the use of lyricon adds a layer that dives into exciting new grounds. Dennis Chambers is on fire as he lays down beats that are relaxing as a sunset on Malibu, and other times thrilling as a triple-crown winning horse. Perhaps if Carl's music becomes more and more recognized in years to come, fusion jazz may become more recognized, while at the same time unspoiled as it melts into the mainstream. As one of Carl's students, I definetely feel Carl's music should be heard at more than an underground level. And with music becoming ever so easier to obtain, it almost seems inevitable.    

Track listing:

01    Hotel Real          
02    Mariko          
03    Little Wing          
04    Song for Irene          
05    Right on Time          
06    Blue Entrance          
07    Cause We've Ended as Lovers          
08    Two PM          
09    Say You Were          
10    Nuji          
11    Forest Flower


Carl Filipiak (guitar); 
Dave Fairall, Bob Berg (saxophone); 
Paul Soroka (keyboards); 
Dennis Chambers (drums); 
Greg Grainger, Victor Williams (percussion). 

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