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Vin Venezia Fifth And Adams

Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author of The Great Jazz Guitarists 


Vin Venezia is an excellent guitarist based in New Jersey who has attractive sounds and a fluent technique on electric and acoustic guitars, the baritone guitar, the nylon string guitar, and the guitar synthesizer. He started playing guitar when he was eight, earned a degree in Jazz Studies and Performance from William Paterson College, and studied along the way with Bob DeVos, Harry Leahey and Mike Stern. Venezia’s versatility has come in handy on a wide variety of musical jobs and it is displayed winningly on his appealing and swinging CD Fifth And Adams.

  The guitarist contributed all ten originals for this set which features him in several different settings (ranging from solo to a pair of quintets) with pianist David Budway, tenor-saxophonist Bob Magnusson, bassists Harvie S. and Kermit Driscoll, drummer Richie Morales, and percussionist Manolo Badrena with Mike Stern having a guest appearance.

  The opener, “Watch Your Step,” is a relative of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” and has fine tenor, guitar and piano solos. The minor blues “The Longliner” is taken at a relaxed tempo, preceding the ballad “Fifth And Adams,” a duet by Venezia on baritone guitar and bassist Driscoll.

  “Song For Deb” is a moody piece that has Venezia featured on guitar synthesizer with a quartet. It climaxes with him jamming over an appealing closing vamp. The ballad “Ella” has Venezia’s nylon string guitar in the spotlight including for a long unaccompanied introduction. The style shifts to bebop for a guitar duet with Stern (“Oddogg”) and the swinging “Blues For Remus.”

  The atmospheric “Didn’t Want To” is an introspective performance with Venezia heard on solo baritone guitar. The brief “Coronation” has Venezia taking a free improvisation on guitar synth in a duet with percussionist Badrena, leading to the closer, “Two Squirrels,” a modern jazz jam with Venezia hinting at Pat Metheny.

  Throughout Fifth And Adams, Vin Venezia is heard in top form, never wasting a note or letting the momentum slow down. It is a superior outing for the guitarist, one that is easily recommended.

GUITARS IN FRONT…Vin Venezia: Fifth and Adams

by George W. Harris • July 26, 2018 

A pair of rich sounds with six strings out in front. Warm toned guitarist Vin Venezia delivers some swinging originals out in various group settings on this latest album. On electric guitar, he bops well with Bob Magnuson/ts, David Budway/p, Harvie S/b and Richie Morales/dr on the swinging “Watch Your Step” and delivers a hip swagger on “Blues For Remus.” He adds a synth guitar along with the deft percussion of Manolo Badrena on loan from Ahmad Jamal for a quirky “Two Squirrels” and pulsating “Song For Deb.” On nylon string guitar, he leads a sublime trio on a pretty “Ella” which is coaxed along by Morales’ cymbals. He gets even more spartan with his baritone guitar teaming with Kermit Driscoll’s bass for a folksy title track and going solo with the strings on an intimate “Didn’t Want To.” Sublime strings with a dash of spice.

Midwest April 27, 2018

VIN VENEZIA/5th & Adams: The guest list on this set says it all but above and beyond that, this guitar man's music speaks for itself. The kind of cat that get's fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts but doesn't turn around and issue arts council music just plain tears it up with a killer, contemporary jazz date that both echoes Wes and visions the future. The kind of smoking mainstream stuff that brought you into the tent in the first place, this smoking date has it all on the ball--and more. Just what the doctor ordered.

VIN VENEZIA MUSIC – New Jersey based guitarist Vin Venezia is making waves with his 2018 CD entitled 5th and Adams. The sound of the ten-track CD is straight ahead mainstream instrumental jazz that spotlights Vin’s electric guitar front and center. Key here is that all the track are originals penned by the guitarist and also noted are the players backing Vin’s guitar and compositions, including jazz icons including Mike Stern (guitar), Harvie S (double bass), Kermit Driscoll (electric bass / double bass), Richie Morales (drums) David Budway (keys), Bob Magnuson (sax) and Manola Badrena (percussion). Having studied with guitar ace Bob DeVos, classical guitar master Leonid Bolotin and modern jazz hero Mike Stern, Vin’s guitar sound and stylings are truly impeccable. Although Vin’s guitar sound has a sound all its own, Pat Metheny’s influence is noted as are other guitar influences including Wes Montgomery and Jim Hall as well as late, great luminaries Miles Davis, Bill Evans and John Coltrane. Veteran sideman, composer and jazz guitar ace Vin Venezia boldly takes jazz guitar styles into some truly adventurous terrain on sonic swing-fest of 5th and Adams.

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