Gamalon CD Review &bull 12/25/96 -Artvoice: December 25, 1996 by Dale Anderson

Exchange that spare Steve Vai album for the newly-released effort by the jazz-rock group Gamalon. They never worked for a big, bad multinational corporation, but they managed to hook up with Buffalo-based music mogul Lenny Silver. His Amherst Records label put out three of their albums. Unlike that previous Amherst jazz-rock success story, Spyro Gyra, they didn't quite break through to widespread acclaim. When Amherst didn't pick up their option, they gradually faded from the scene.

With the original Gamalon crew scattered among various different bands around town, it seemed unlikely that this killer all-instrumental aggregation would play again. Even the mainstays, drummer Ted Reinhardt and his bass-playing brother Tom, had found a steady partnership with blues guitar wizard Willie Haddath in Willie and the Reinhardts.

Over the summer, however, came word that Ted Reinhardt was doing a new Gamalon album with a new band. And now, with that new album, Held to the Light, independently released and in hand, we're about to see a Gamalon revival.

The new band -- with Ted Reinhardt and holdover guitarist Bruce Brucato joined by Tony Scozzaro on guitar and Chapman stick and Jim Wynne on bass -- hits the stage Saturday evening in the Marquee at the Tralf for a CD release party. Then, after the New Year begins, they launch back into one of the staple gigs of the old Gamalon -- a weekly performance in the back room at the Central Park Grill, 2519 Main St., every Tuesday beginning Jan. 7.

Judging from the Held to the Light disc, the new Gamalon should offer many of the same pleasures as the old one -- blinding guitar virtuosity and rhythms of delirious intensity.

There are a couple of important differences, however. Scozzaro is more thoughtful and less flashy than previous guitarist George Puleo (who shows up for a guest show in the bubbling "Red Zone"). The persuasiveness of the band has changed, as well. There's more texture to the rhythm section here -- a greater variety of rhythms and a bigger range of drum sounds, such as the Indian tabla in "Cave" and "The Sword." The return of Gamalon makes 1997 look better already.


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