Tony Purrone
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Tony Purrone


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"A monster guitarist who's criminally under-recognized --"

Tony Purrone is a guitarist capable of blindingly fast single-note displays. But before you dismiss him out of hand as just another one-dimensional wonder, it's important to know that his musical abilities run deep and encompass musicality, creativity and the ability to swing, traits he amply displays on Rascality, a trio outing with electric bassist Dave Anderson and drummer Thierry Arpino. --Bill Milkowski - All About Jazz

"Tony Purrone"

Not a composer per se, Purrone nevertheless has a knack for arranging tunes in a way that makes them all his own. For instance, instead of tackling the ubiquitous chestnut “Body and Soul” in the usual way, he begins with a moody single-note counter melody, interjects dissonant harmonies and only occasionally references the melody. The upshot is a never-heard-before interpretation that leaves most renditions far behind while remaining valid in its own right. In contrast, he treats Wayne Shorter's “12 More Bars to Go” pretty much as the funky workout it is, using it as a framework for suspending myriad phrases that are sometimes angular, sometimes blistering. Other highlights include a funky reworking of “Blue in Green” and Miles Davis' “Petits Machins,” which freely builds in intensity as he ranges far and wide over its musical landscape.

It should be understood that while Purrone does possess awesome skills, he doesn't overly lean on them. He usually exercises restraint, calling upon them when they fit into his emotional and conceptional scheme. --Jim Ferguson, Jazz Times - Jazz Times


A monster guitarist, Purrone displays his prodigious technique on this celebration of 10 jazz guitar innovators. Accompanied by Harold Danko on piano, Keith Copeland on drums and Avishai Cohen on bass, the longstanding member of The Heath Brothers band bristles with six-string bravado on these straightahead extrapolations.

His take on bop master Jimmy Raney's "Signal" is warm and full of harmonic complexity yet executed with a hard swinging sense of assuredness. He places Django Reinhardt's "Fleur d'Ennui" in a more contemporary soul-jazz setting without sacrificing the gypsy guitarist's mindboggling single note flourishes, then shows ultimate finesse in a graceful reading of Jim Hall's beautiful ballad "All Across the City". He makes some daring choices on John McLaughlin's hypnotic modal piece "Follow Your Heart", then deals in an earthy soul-jazz bag on Wes Montgomery's bluesy "Sundown". Purrone's staccato attack, blinding speed and marvelous facility are put to good use on Pat Martino's chops-busting "On the Stairs" and on Tal Farlow's signature piece, "Gibson Boy".

Also included are heartfelt tributes to Joe Pass, Johnny Smith and George Van Eps. A wonderful sampler for jazz guitar fans and an admirable showcase for this criminally under-recognized six-string virtuoso. --Bill Milkowski - Jazz Times

"Tony Purrone Trio SET 'EM UP"

Tony Purrone - Guitar
Eddie Gomez - Bass
Lennie White - Drums

Tony Purrone is a masterful musician. His improvisations border on genius and his chord melodies leave me groping for my guitar (an exercise in futility) trying to figure out what he's doing. As an accompanist, he proves the importance of knowing exactly what to play, and even more essential, what not to play. Tony combines a talent for making his music totally new and fresh, yet it is somehow comfortable and accessible. From the very first tune, "Blues Aloof", through the Irving Berlin standard, "How Deep is the Ocean", you realize you are not going to hear any musical cliches or worn out recycled "licks." Tony accomplishes this without resorting to the dissonances and sometimes noise of free jazz.

This trio proves that they are more than competent in many styles. Charlie Parker's "Ah Leu Cha" is a Be-Bop masterpiece and the tender yet obtuse ballad, "Remembering the Dream", written by Purrone, is a showcase of contrasts. Eddie Gomez not only provides the perfect foundation for Tony's playing; he also solos tastefully and lyricly on several cuts. Lenny White provides perfect percussion and is a master of virtuosity and restraint; a rare combination indeed!

My only caveat when listening to this album is: do not put this CD on as background music for some important project or to listen to when you are studying.This music is intense! You will find yourself hard pressed to concentrate on anything but the fine technique and intense musical inventiveness of the entire trio.

Reviewed by Randall S. Closson - Just Jazz Guitar


Tony Purrone CD's:
Live At the Red Door
The Tonester
In The Heath Zone
Set 'em Up
Six-String Delight
Electric Poetry

Albums Where Tony Recorded With Others:
Heath Brothers Live at the Public Theater*
Jimmy Heath-Little Man, Big Band*
You've Changed (Jimmy Heath)
You or Me (Jimmy Heath)
Organic Grooves (Lonnie Smith)
Present tense (Lenny White)

*Grammy nominated albums

All-star recording with the late Grover Washington, Kenny Garrett, Lonnie Smith, Joey DeFrancesco, Idris Muhammed, and Lenny White on HIP BOP records



Tony Purrone was born and raised in Connecticut. His love affair with the guitar started with his first lesson at age nine. His early ability, expressed across a diversity of styles, led to acceptance by the University of Bridgeport Jazz Ensemble at only 15. Four years later, while still a student, he performed with the Don Elliott Quintet and the Gerry Mulligan Sextet. Shortly thereafter, he came to the attention of Jimmy Heath and was invited to join the Heath Brothers Band, going on to record five albums on CBS and ISLAND-ANTILLES in between touring the world. Tony's work expanded beyond the Heath Brothers Band enabling him to carve his own impressive niche in the jazz world. Jimmy Heath so rightly named Tony as: "One of the world's greatest guitarists..."

Today, Tony Purrone is recognized as one of the most accomplished improvisational guitarists of our time. Displaying a broad range of fingerboard talent, Tony Purrone has an uncanny knack for tastefully blending blindingly fast arpeggios with soothing, lyrical passages that form the unique musical architecture and "story-telling with notes" that earned Tony a 5-star rating in Downbeat Magazine. Here are a few quotes from the press about Tony:

"Remember this name: Tony Purrone. He was the guitarist in Ed Thigpen's trio, and his speed and fluidity bring to mind DiMeola and Martino, while the two tunes he wrote for Mr. Taste (entitled simply "Ballad" and "Tony's Blues") attest to a unique "musicality".
--Mac Randall, Musician Magazine

"...a strong and assertive guitarist, becomes the invigorating focus of the quartet. His bold, bright colors are a tonic... and his physical involvement with his guitar is a visual stimulant."
-- John S. Wilson, NY Times

"[his] fiery-fingered wizardry brought down the house more than once. "
--W. Royal Stokes, The Washington Post

"In the midst of these excursions, Purrone combined Wes Montgomery lyricism with a bite and adventure that Pat Metheny would applaud, just the right stylistic compliment to Heath."
--Bob Young, The Boston Herald

In addition to his work with the Heath Brothers, Tony has performed and recorded with many of the greats of jazz including: Frank Foster and the Count Basie Band, Jerome Richardson, Lee Konitz, Al Cohn, Pepper Adams, Paquito D'Rivera, Sal Nistico, Nick Brignola, Bill Barron, Dave Leibman, Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Randy Brecker, Lew Soloff, Jon Faddis, Donald Byrd, Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman band members, Stanley Cowell, Billy Eckstine, Johnny Hartman, the Trio (3) with Pete Levin, Lenny White, Stanley Clarke, his own groups, and more.

Notable Performances
Tony occasionally appears with Jimmy Heath as a special guest, most notably: an Alice Tully Hall (Lincoln Center) performance with the three Heath Bros., Wynton Marsalis, and the late Joe Henderson as well as the Jazzmobile 35th anniversary gala concert at Lincoln Center's Avery Fischer Hall, hosted by Bill Cosby. Tony made a special guest appearance on the latest reunion Heath Bros. release on CONCORD records, "The Jazz Family" as well as live performances on three SS Norway floating jazz festival cruises, and at the legendary Blue Note, Village Vanguard and Birdland jazz clubs in New York City.

Other noteworthy engagements include:
* Monte Carlo Johnny 'n Jazz Festival—Monaco
* NAMM Shows West, Anaheim, CA.
* Five Guitars Play Mingus performances in NYC.
* Urbanator European Tour with Michael Urbaniak & Tom Browne.
* Classic American Guitar Shows- L.I., NY.
* Frank Foster Big Band performances.
* Two Southern Arts Federation Tours
* Other Music Festivals include: Telluride, Colorado; Rockford, Illinois; Flint, Michigan; Montreal, Canada; Bethel Woods, NY and San Francisco, CA.

The Tony Purrone Trio
Tony's amazing jazz and improvisational guitar are complimented by bassist, Dave Anderson and drummer, Thierry Arpino. He has worked with Dave for more than 12 years including recording a number of CD’s together. Thierry Arpino has worked with Tony for more than 7 years and has performed with jazz legends such as Jon-Luc Ponty, Randy Brecker and Larry Coryell, among others.

Tony has recorded ten CD’s and has also recorded with some of the top names in jazz. He also participated in two Grammy nominated albums, "Heath Brothers Live at the Public Theater"and "Jimmy Heath-Little Man, Big Band".

Tony has released an incredible ten CD's. Two notables, "Guitarisk" & "Incubation" are receiving frequent airplay on the New York areas hottest jazz radio station, WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM. Tony's most recent CD, "Live At The Red Door" was released in 2006.

Tony has recorded with Jimmy Heath on the LANDMARK, VERVE, and STEEPLECHASE labels, Ed Thigpen on the REACTION label and is the featured guitar soloist along with bassist, Stanley Clarke, on the song "Dark" co-written with Lenny White (on Lenny's CD, "Present Tense" (HIP BOP records). His recording in July 1991 with Ed Thigpen on