Philadelphia native Jimmy Bruno has played guitar for the giants, working alongside drummer Buddy Rich before hitting the road with Frank Sinatra and Lena Horne. He isn't just a sideman, however. Bruno has been playing the clubs as a leader the past few years, honing his already prodigious chops into post-bop art. On "Live at Birdland II," Bruno says something meaningful with his talents.
He has reached a place where solos are tight and succinct, displaying a lovely sense of economy. Not that Bruno won't pull out some flame throwers, but he has learned to pick his spots, and that makes him (now) one of the most rewarding guitarists to listen to. The disc has all the flair and bounce necessary to keep the foot patting (like the Clifford Brown classic "Joy Spring"). A sense of poetry is now his that wasn't there before.