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Gabor Lesko is an inventive and talented guitarist, keyboardist and composer from Italy who is well worth discovering. While he had previously recorded a series of fine sets, Earthway serves as a perfect introduction to his musical magic.

Joined by several different bassists and drummers plus guest Eric Marienthal on soprano and the Milwaukee Brass Ensemble on two numbers, Lesko contributed all eight selections and performs on a variety of guitars and keyboards and, as he puts it, “everything else.”

The colorful set begins with “Earthway,” a piece that pays tribute to the wonders of both music and outer space. Dave Weckl’s drums are prominent in the ensemble while Lesko’s blazing guitar is mostly in the lead, sometimes hinting a little at Pat Metheny. Next is “Fiesta,” a happy but sophisticated piece with solos from Lesko on guitar and synth plus Marienthal on soprano.

Just when one might be thinking of Gabor Lesko as primarily a high-powered fusion guitarist, he performs the quietly fiery ballad “Still Here For You” and the relatively mellow “Igor.” His “Gently Obsessive,” a jazz waltz with a sweet melody, is one of the main highpoints. More contrast is offered on the assertive “Push It !” (a passionate and rockish piece that is comprised mostly of ensembles) and the relatively straight-ahead “Mickey Mouse Loves Jazz.” Earthway concludes with “Air (Lost Key Part Two),” which progresses from a lyrical statement from Lesko’s wailing guitar to an orchestral piece that perfectly wraps up the memorable set.

Gabor Lesko was born and raised in Italy. He studied classical guitar, piano and composition at the Conservatory of Bergamo, later also having further studies in Budapest, at the Civic Jazz School of Milan, and in the United States at Berklee and the Musician’s Institute. Since then, he has worked with many top artists (including Tony Levin, Simon Phillips, Steve Vai, and Chad Wackerman), written and performed for motion pictures and television in Italy, and starred at many European festivals and clubs.

Earthway is Gabor Lesko’s eighth album as a leader. His consistently inventive playing and writing show that there is still plenty of life to be found in fusion, and that he is an important voice in the modern jazz world.

Musicians: Gabor Lesko - Guitars, Dave Weckl, Marco Fuliano, Sophie Alloway, Eugenio Mori, Gergo Borlai - Drums, Hadrien Feraud, Federico Malaman, Jimmy Haslip - Bass, Guido Block - Vocals, Eric Marienthal - Sax section and soprano solo

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