Saratoga Springs’ native son Pete Donnelly has released a new album, a corresponding music video and is preparing to hit the road in October with an all-new combo at his side.
“Phases of the Moon” signals a departure of sorts for fans familiar with Donnelly’s work as co-founder of The Figgs. Ten of the album’s 18 tracks are instrumentals and include recreation of works by Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, Erik Satie, Claude Debussy and Oscar Pettiford.
The Figgs – who formed in 1987 when Donnelly collaborated with fellow Saratoga Springs High School students Mike Gent, and Guy Lyons – have released more than a dozen albums and staged some 1,500 shows at hallowed venues like the QE2, CBGB’s, and the Whisky A Go Go. And while Gent and Donnelly continue to perform together, the solo record, “Phases of the Moon,” features a nod to the bass player-turned-guitarist’s younger musical ears - which heralded an appreciation for Charles Mingus and Thelonious Monk, as much as for bands like Black Flag and Hüsker Dü.
The piano serves as a driving force on “Phases of the Moon,” merging seductive jazz riffs laced with a sweet soul muse, topped with the familiar jingle-jangle of an electric guitar, a permeable dose of catchy songwriting throughout and adorned with a class rock and roll beat THAT JUST SWINGS.
Donnelly - who calls Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey home these days - asked director Geoffray Barbier to coordinate a New York City rooftop video shoot for the album’s debut single, “Dr. Richard.” The result maintains a rock ‘n’ rebel tradition not seen since The Senders rocked tar beach with their "My Baby Glows in the Dark" rooftop video in 1990 - look it up! – and the Jefferson Airplane sang and strummed atop a Manhattan rooftop a generation earlier.
For more information about “Phases of the Moon” – released as a full-length CD and a special hand-numbered double album, go to: http://www.petedonnellymusic.com/.