Half Notes: Planet Z – Planet Z Featuring Susan Aquila (2011)

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Sporting a drop dead gorgeous image and a six string violin that resembles a Gibson Flying V, Susan Aquila certainly looks the part, but is her fiddle playing up to snuff? Well, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Kanye West, Metallica and Billy Joel, just to name a few of the acts she’s performed with, seem to think so. For this first album of her own, she enlisted the help of guitarist Robert Tomaro, who wrote all seven tracks and serves as Aquila’s soloing sparring partner. Evocative of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Michal Urbaniak and Jean-Luc Ponty’s early Atlantic sides, Tomaro’s brawny brand of fusion is more straight ahead than those acts (although “The Fire Of The Planes” boasts some slithery unison lines). Aquila for her part does in fact sound like she’s playing a violin with all the swagger and squeal one expects from someone playing a Flying V. In any case, the electric violin as a lethal weapon in jazz-rock has been largely forgotten after the 70s, so it’s a welcome development for Aquila to apply her ample talents toward that genre.

Planet Z Featuring Susan Aquila was self-released on May 31. Visit Susan Aquila’s website and Planet Z’s website.

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S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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  • Rob Tomaro

    Dear Mr. Aaron,

    Oh behalf of my featured artist Susan Aquila and myself, I would like to extend my deepest thanks for your thoughtful, perceptive and supportive review of our debut effort Planet Z featuring Susan Aquila. We have just signed to new management and are in the planning stages for the second CD, which we hope will meet with your approval, as well.

    with best wishes for the holidays,
    yours truly,
    Rob Tomaro

    • S. Victor Aaron

      Thanks for the kind remarks, Mr. Tomaro, look forward to the next Planet Z album.

      -V

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