Lelio Padovani is a fairly unknown guitar player and composer from the north of Italy. He got recognition from the great Mike Varney; the major guitar guru in the early nineties and his early work got very positive reviews. Flying a bit under the radar, Lelio was a music teacher who occasionally released his solo work, full albums as well as shorter EPs.
Waves is his 2016 release and has to be categorized as an instrumental guitar driven EP. This album is beautifully presented as a six paged digipack and has liner notes that explain the way the songs came to life. The four compositions have Lelio as a guitar player as well as bass player, keyboards and the drums are programmed. This results in a very organic side, with beautiful guitar lines and mesmerizing melodies, strongly supported by the accompanying bass parts. A bit of a downer are the colder, mechanical sounds of the other instruments, which sometimes make me drift away from the wonderfully played compositions on the album. Technically there is no doubt that Lelio is a versatile player, who fuses Joe Satriani's softer compositions with the jazzy undertones of fusion master Frank Gambale. His relaxed way of presenting the songs made me forgive him the programmed elements, although I would love to hear a true organic drummer.
Lelio Padovani shows that he is a great composer as well as a solid player. His nice and relaxed compositions are strong and accessible, without ending up in the freakzone. This EP makes me curious how this musician would sound with a real full band.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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