Listening to Frank Potenza’s Old, New, Borrowed, & Blue is a little like chilling around the table at a ramshackle dinner while old friends tell stories of days gone by. With every movement of his fingers across those steel strings, Frank’s telling a different story and sharing a different idea.
Featuring Potenza on guitar and vocals, Steve Barnes on drums, and Joe Bagg on organ, this smooth little trio encapsulates the value of even the smallest shared community. Special guest Holly Hofmann takes another seat at the table, holding it down on flute.
Released on Capri Records, Old, New, Borrowed, & Blue is a celebration of shared musical experiences. Potenza smokes through the four elements of Victorian wedding tradition, lighting up old favorites with smooth glides of guitar and delivering a sense of timing and zeal to a set of solid new jams.
At times, Potenza “borrows” mood. On “You’ve Got a Friend,” an arrangement of a Carole King tune, he snags the straight eight note feel from James Taylor’s version and unpacks a version all his own. It’s jazzy in all the right spots, moving with lively color thanks to Bagg’s exquisite organ backdrop.
Using 24-measure modified blues form in boogaloo style, “Ode to Billie Joe” works enormously well with the organ trio format. Barnes’ unswerving percussion provides firm groundwork, while Potenza rolls through some great guitar.
Hofmann steps into the light on “A Weaver of Dreams,” lending bold, luscious alto flute to the song’s beautiful tapestry. Her flute’s interaction with Potenza’s guitar is a treat, warmly reflecting the natural feel of conversation with a great friend over wine and dinner. Listen as Hofmann effortlessly traces the tune’s natural bass line.
Potenza, a protégé of Joe Pass and a Rhode Island native, is a tremendously talented guitarist. He never overwhelms and his compositions integrate all of the elements of his band. When he takes to the vocals, as he does on “I’m Walkin’,” he does so with a reserved approach. Potenza isn’t the star of the show; he’s another element in the greater picture.
Old, New, Borrowed, & Blue is a fun collection of songs performed by a group truly connected to one another through music. There is a splendid common thread running through each number, smartly tracing the sense of community and fellowship that authentic love for music can bring.