“Excellent record, unpredictable and passionate–highlights the wide spectrum of Aledort’s musical vision of volcanic guitar creativity and inventiveness.”

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Little mentioned in the pages of this magazine but considered a master by many American colleagues, Andy Aledort boasts a curriculum that has seen him performing and recording alongside Dickey Betts, Lucky Peterson, Jimi Hendrix’s bandmates Mitch Mitchell, Buddy Miles and Billy Cox and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rhythm section, Double Trouble. Aledort also co-authored with Alan Paul the SRV biography, Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan. A talented and multifaceted guitarist, Aledort has created many instructional guitar DVDs and several albums under his own name, the previous being Light of Love in 2022.

The small and enterprising Long Song Records, of Milanese Fabrizio Perissinotto, has for some time wandered the border territories between rock, blues, jazz and improvised music (I remember the beautiful works of the J&F Band). Four years ago, Perissinoto reissued Aledort’s 1999 CD, Put A Sock In It. Perissinotto himself is the producer of the new In A Dream, a work which also sees Aledort in the role of singer alongside an excellent ensemble, including bassist Joe Fonda, guitarist David Grissom—present on the cover of Albert King’s, “Can’t You See What You’re Doing To Me”—the saxophonist Jon Irabagon, keyboardist Pee Wee Durante and drummer Tiziano Tononi.

Recorded live in the functional and well-equipped Firehouse 12 studio in New Haven, Connecticut, where musicians are welcomed into spaces that satisfy every technical, human and environmental need, In A Dream is a record that highlights the wide spectrum of Aledort’s musical vision: his volcanic guitar creativity, his inventiveness starting from the classics but revisiting them according to a free attitude that does not disdain a marked penchant for jazz improvisation, as well as the aptitude for wide-open jamming. The music on this new release also exalts the team of inspired and versatile musicians who do not seem to have secrets regarding their instruments.

The album’s title In A Dream is not accidental, because three of these songs arose from the leader’s dreams. This is the case with “Hymn,” “Cotton Sham Melodies” and the title track.

“Hymn” is an instrumental ballad in which Aledort extracts lyrical and melodic solos that give the song a strong romantic inspiration. This is further developed by the superlative work of saxophonist Jon Irabagon, a champion of versatility, unpredictable yet careful to design a filmic and urban choreography (a jazz version of Springsteen’s “Racing In The Street” comes to mind). Irabagon is aided by the equally masterful Pee Wee Durante on Hammond organ.

Again thanks to Irabagon’s sax work, “Cotton Sham Melodies” develops as certain seventies jazz-rock groups used to do, such as Chick Corea’s Return To Forever and Weather Report, as the saxophone nervously scribbles and then opens into ecstatic phrases. This instrumental, like the previous one, has a dreamlike quality, underlined by the delicate work of the rhythm section as Fonda and Tononi are committed to maintaining that rarefaction typical of a dream. “In A Dream,” another instrumental, sees Aledort playing with refinement, almost in the shadow of piano and saxophone.

If these are the most bucolic and visionary numbers, on other occasions Aledort gives vent to his impetuosity, displaying true guitar aggression but in a way that is absent of self-indulgence. On the vocal track, a cover of Cream’s “Lawdy Mama,” he respects the script while putting his own spin on it. Cream reconfigured their original version of “Lawdy Mama” into “Strange Brew” (the alternate version of “Lawdy Mama” included on the Those Were The Days box set is eloquent). This new version of “Lawdy Mama” is treated in the right coordinates of the original.

In this reprise of “Can’t You See What You’re Doing To Me,” Aledort, thanks in part to the presence of Grissom, hits the ground running as the two go at it in a big way, torturing each other in the name of a distorted and psychedelic blues. On this extended track, drummer Tononi doesn’t give up of a comma and here the muscles are flexed. The saxophone stings poisonously and the Hammond rambles behind the scenes and then jumps into the foreground with master strokes. Aledort sings in the breaks and leaves his mark.

Still in the blues vein is “Pali Gap,” a little-known piece by Jimi Hendrix, in which Aledort juggles an imitation of the original while giving full use to his technical virtuosity. This is towered together with the usual Irabagon flair, while Tononi exhibits an exemplary sample of rhythms and counter-rhythms while Durante’s Hammond sounds fluid and mellow at the same time.

The electric storm leaves no escape—it reaches straight to the senses. Only an amateur would be unable to notice how much splendor there is in this piece, between Hendrixian echoes, jazz improvisation, Allman Brothers and so on. As with the other titles on the album, the length is well above average. The same musical intensity is heard in the other two originals of the lot, “Passengers” and “Moonwaves,” the latter of which was written some time ago by Aledort and reimagined for the version included on In A Dream.

In “Passengers,” the guitarist allows himself to be carried away in technical exuberance, a little verbose even though “sedated” by the melodic work of the piano. “Moonwaves” has a completely linear progression, I would dare say Zappa-like. The rhythm section has fun in the disorder and Aledort dives deeply into his instrument between wah-wah and helical solos. The saxophone, though no stranger to delirium either, brings the music back on his way home and allows In A Dream end the way it began with a heretical, courageous and healthy assault on the blues when it is treated without distinctions of genres, styles and inspiration. Excellent record, unpredictable and passionate.