Guitarist Mark Doyle released his first detective-themed album, “Guitar Noir” in 1999. Twenty years later, “Watching the Detectives: Guitar Noir III” is scheduled for release Aug. 6, 2019.
“Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III” follows “Guitar Noir” and “In Dreams: Guitar Noir II.”
“Guitar Noir III” is a jazz album, but it has some serious rock ‘n’ roll bones, especially “Detectives Medley.” There are catchy grooves, hard-hitting riffs and a mix of originals and cover tunes. Overall, the songs on “Guitar Noir III” are the soundtrack to an interpretation of American popular culture that needs to be heard.
It seems wrong to call an album “fun,” when the musicianship is so solid. The string section, guitar and drums raucously intersect with each other. The result is that songs like “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and “Watching the Detectives” (as part of “Detectives Medley”) get new sounds and listeners should appreciate the musicianship that has gone into making older songs new.
About Mark Doyle
Doyle’s professional musical career began when formed his first band, Jukin’ Bone and was signed to RCA while still a teen. Later his career included playing with or producing projects with musicians such as Leo Sayer, Hall & Oates, Meat Loaf, Judy Collins, Bryan Adams and others. In addition, he has provided string arrangements for New Kids On the Block, Tiffany, The Stylistics, and The Cavedogs.
Doyle has his own band, Mark Doyle & The Maniacs. The group has released six albums and play shows throughout the Northeastern US.
The sound of “Watching the Detectives: Guitar Noir III” by Mark Doyle
The cover art and concept of the album work together to make audiences think of the heyday of jazz, the detective noir novels and movies and television shows. There is more than a hint of jazz on several songs, such as Doyle’s original, “Noir Alley” that captures the bluesy feel of jazz and mixes it with the steely determination of rock-oriented music. The guitar solo is piercing and haunting at the same time.
Other songs that must be heard from this brilliant album are “Johnny Staccato” and the aforementioned “Detectives Medley.” The rock-orientation is unmistakable.
On “Guitar Noir III,” Doyle plays guitars, keyboards, bass and drum programming. In addition, Josh Dekaney can be heard on drums and percussion. Further, there is a string section that includes Ally Brown, Shelby Dems, Jonathon Hwang, and Joe Davoli on violins, and Kate LaVerne on cello. The string sections were written and conducted by Doyle. Their dramatic use as intensifiers.
Two songs on the album are outside of the concept of “Guitar Noir III”: “America Drinks and Goes Home” by Frank Zappa and “Everytime” by Louis Cole. The latter is full of searing, almost poignant guitar work that is a slowed-down counterpoint to the rocker (“Detectives”) that opens the album.
“Guitar Noir III” is unexpected. The concept, the soundscape both present something familiar in ways that could not be predicted. Full of energy, yet precise, it is one of those one-of-a-kind albums that audiences will turn to again and again.