JOE DENINZON: The Adventures of Stratospheerius (CD on D-Zone Entertainment)

Russian-born/Cleveland-bred/New York-based violinist Joe Deninzon has played with Sheryl Crow, Smokey Robinson, Johnny Mathis, Jay and the Americans, Everclear, and many more. On this 70 minute CD from 2002, Deninzon spreads his solo wings (accompanied by a full back-up band who superbly flesh out the songs).

While rooted in a rock foundation, this music employs elements of power jazz and sultry funk to produce an exuberant frenzy that is quite comparable to Joe Satriani (if that Joe’s instrument were a smoking violin instead of a guitar). Deninzon’s violin mastery belts out riffs that delightfully blazes with searing riffs, plunging the music into a fiddle frenzy that bestows the tuneage with unbridled energy.

Fleshing out the Stratospheerius sound are: sultry guitar, rumbling basslines, frantic drumming, sinuous keyboards, and celebratory vocals that enunciate lyrical outlines of life.

The songs are gripping and energetic. Insistent melodies are made compelling by the violin passion. Fevered solos are cradled between lyrical passages that tremble with breakout rock stamina. A Bayou flavor lurks in several tracks, creating a strange fusion of bluesy funk and studied progressive tendencies. The result is goodtime music that will get you dancing.