The Adventures Of Stratospheerius

By Glenn Astarita

Violinist Joe Deninzon boasts some impressive credentials! He’s performed with soul/pop icon Smokey Robinson, rock/pop diva Sheryl Crow, and others of note. This Russian born, Cleveland Ohio bred artist displays hearty doses of flair and dazzle throughout this somewhat asymmetrical outing. Featuring electric guitar maestro Alex Skolnick and a strong backing band, the violinist launches the proceedings with a snappy, jazz-fusion motif on the opening number, “What’s That Thang?” The musicians also explore balladry and funk-grooves in concert with Skolnick’s crunch chords and a few folksy movements. At times, notions of the Mahavishnu Orchestra emerge. A passable vocalist, Deninzon’s expressiveness provides a rock-crooner style edge to several tracks.

No doubt, Mr. Deninzon possesses monster chops, whereas many of these pieces feature tricky rhythmic maneuvers amid his electrifying violin passages. But, the overly compressed sonic qualities elicit a rather dated or perhaps antiquated sound. Otherwise, Deninzon possesses the compulsory goods to become a major force in the progressive rock and jazz-fusion arenas.

Track Listing: 1.What’s That Thang? 2.Pleasurepain 3.Peppermint Patty 4.Hindsight 5.Hope Alive 6.StoryTime 7.Sun Goes Down 8.Contusion 9.Ants In The Pants 10.Rise 11.Nefertiti 12.Chunga Changa

Personnel: Joe Deninzon: electric & acoustic violin, vocals, mandolin – Alex Skolnick: guitar – Scott Chasolen: keyboards – Rufus Philpot: electric bass – DJ Big Wiz: turntables – Dave Archer: keyboards – Chris Karlic: bass clarinet, baritone saxophone – Grisha Alexiev: drums – Annette Argentine Aguillar: percussion – Jann Klose: backup vocals – Joe Tomino: drums – Matt Murphy: backup vocals – Daniel Sadownick: percussion

Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock