A Tribute for
Paul F. Antonelli Jr.
In 2001 one of the greatest albums of all time was released by a Canton native, and almost no one reading this has ever even heard of it. The name of the album is Ten Movements by Paul F. Antonelli Jr., who passed away on June 11th. I didn't know Mr. Antonelli personally, but I saw him play at the Luna bar and grill in downtown Canton around 2001 and his performance blew me away. To this day, it's among the greatest guitar performances I've ever witnessed, and I'm not being hyperbolic. I must have been twelve at the time, just learning to play guitar myself, and seeing him absolutely shred was inspirational. Mr. Antonelli wailed that night, it was a veritable riff clinic, it was truly astounding, something I will never forget.
Around this time, I came upon his album, Ten Movements. It was much more nuanced than the face melting, guitar slaying onslaught I witnessed at Luna. Ten Movements contains some of the most emotive music I've ever heard, it can bring me near to tears. I've heard this album hundreds of times over the years, I remember listening to it on repeat for months when it came out, and I've listened to it countless times since. Ten Movements is etched into my consciousness like no other music, occupying spaces of my memory associated with seminal events in my life, as music does, and it was all created in Northeast, Ohio. It could have been created anywhere and I would have been equally as obsessed with it, but given its proximity to my own life, I've taken great pride in sharing it with many people over the years.
Ten Movements is a perfect elixir of classical, jazz, prog rock, and acoustic pop popularized by the likes of John Mayer, Keller Williams, and Jack Johnson, but really his music defies category. Contemporary-jazz-fusion-classical-prog-rock-acoustic-pop, maybe? Like any true trail blazer, it's evident that Paul followed his truth in music, recording what was in his head without cow-tailing to fads, attempting to modify his sound to fit into
contemporary notions of popular music, or do much of anything to compromise his artistic integrity. The result is an unabashed, epic tale of love, loss, redemption, childhood, and the infinite possibilities life affords us all. Ten Movements is Antonelli's bildungsroman, a sonically and conceptually transcendent album, one of the greatest ever recorded, in my opinion. For that, I felt compelled to write this tribute. I don't know what kind of man he was, but to my ears he was undoubtably a musical genius. In addition to Ten Movements, Paul F. Antonelli Jr. released two albums that I'm familiar with, both of which are astounding inclusions to his musical canon. In 2003, he released Red Black and Gray, a mostly instrumental jazz and progressive rock juggernaut, displaying the highest quality of musicianship, arrangement, and composition. In 2009, Antonelli released Chagrin Falls, a classically bent, intimate meditation on mundane beauty, identity, family, and one man's quest for deliverance and serenity.
- Brian Bors
Published in IndeOnline on Jun. 28, 2020.