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Published: 2008/11/03
by Pat Buzby

Bridging the Gap Live! – Yosi Piamenta’s Heavenly Jams Band


It’s strange how the experience of music changes at a club compared to a CD. At a club, a vamp that’s a bit limiting and a solo that goes on a bit too long can pass under the radar if the sound is punchy, the chops are impressive and the atmosphere is right. Having the money and luck to distract yourself to the extent you wish helps, too.

Bridging the Gap documents this experience, including some of the fringe elements such as amp buzz and stage announcements. Guitarist Piamenta deals in jammy fusion, but he does so with impressive musicians in tow—Derek Trucks’s rhythm section backs guitarist Piamenta on the first half of the CD, while veteran fusion drummer Kenwood Dennard is present on the second half—and with an unusual wrinkle: most of the themes have roots in Jewish music.

Considering that this set comes from two gigs with no apparent overdubs, the playing is remarkably error-free. The first half features locked-in support from the Trucks lineup and a guest appearance by vocalist Andrew Black and guitarist Barry Richman, but the second half develops more fire. Dennard’s accompaniment is inventive, although heavy-handed at times, and bassist Andrei Sebastian inserts some nice variations into the repetitive patterns. On top is Piamenta’s guitar, quite chopsy, although not offering many surprises if you’ve spent time with early-70’s Santana and McLaughlin.

A few nights out to see music stick with you for years, but many slip into the ether by the time Monday hits. Bridging the Gap falls in between those poles — the Jewish-flavored fusion is a bit long on vamps and short on innovation, but it’s unfailingly tight.

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