Al Caiola’s mastery of the guitar was always abundantly clear, both in his recordings as a studio musician and in his stage performances, and it is just as self-evident in these two albums and in his relationship with the two solid jazz groups that accompany him on them. "High Strung" was recorded in 1959, and without climbing way out on a limb, Al and his supporting cast of guitars—George Barnes, Al Cassamenti, Don Arnone, John Pizzarelli, and Billy Bauer—set new ideas to a solid swinging beat in “electrifying” up-tempo evergreens and a couple of his own compositions, backed by an excellent rhythm section.
The name of Al Caiola has been part of that very select fraternity of studio musicians who were heard on most of New York’s top rated television and recording assignments from the 40s up to the 70s. There’s a distinctive style and approach in his playing which made for a “sound.” On these recordings, Caiola joined forces with Don Arnone, another top-class, revered and busy studio jazz and pop guitarist. Both men get the chance to swing on these albums featuring two dozen well-known standards and originals, which showcase how well their unique styles blend.
When guitarist Al Caiola (1920) moved to New York after graduating he was quickly hired as a staff musician by CBS, where his skill and adaptability guaranteed him a heavy radio and TV schedule until he left in 1956; he was, in fact, one of the busiest, most successful and respected session men in New York City throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In 1955, at the peak of his success, he recorded “Deep in a Dream” and “Serenade in Blue” for Savoy Records, two albums which focused on a meticulous and reverent treatment of a collection of well-known standards and of his own originals. Technically impeccable, on these Caiola is backed by an excellent rhythm section, with pianist Hank Jones demonstrating his usual warmth and skill, aided by drummer Kenny Clarke and bassist Clyde Lombardi.
Al Caiola is a guitarist who initially made his reputation as a session musician, playing on records made by Percy Faith and Andre Kostelanetz, among others. Caiola was the conductor and arranger for United Artists Records in the late '40s and early '50s. After leaving UA, he signed with RCA, where he released a number of singles in the '50s. In the early '60s, he went back to United Artists, which is where he scored his first hit with the theme to the film The Magnificent Seven…