We receive a lot of CDs every month, many of which are good, and some of which are quite good. Unfortunately, space constraints make it impossible for us to include more than a handful of reviews in each issue of GP, and time to write full-length online reviews can be difficult to find.
So much great music and so little time and space!
As a partial remedy, I’ll be posting Quick Pick reviews of albums by noteworthy artists in the hope that readers might be inspired to investigate them more fully. These will all be positive reviews, simply because I'll only be choosing recordings that I like.
For starters, I’ll focus on jazz discs. Click on the CD titles for additional information.
Wolfgang Muthspiel & Mick Goodrick, Live at the Jazz Standard
The legendary Mick Goodrick mentored Metheny, Frisell, and Scofield among countless others, including Wolfgang Muthspiel. Recorded live at the New York Guitar Festival in December 2008, the duo interweaves lines and chords with uncommon elegance and harmonic sophistication. A master class in listening that is also wonderful to listen to.Material.
Hot Club of Detroit, It’s About That Time
Guitarist Evan Perri and rhythm guitarist Paul Brady power this highly engaging outing, accompanied by saxophone, accordion, and double bass. The Motor City quintet remain rooted in Gypsy jazz, covering several classics, while also branching off into arrangements of Mingus, Miles, and even Chopin, and offering up four originals. Mack Avenue.
New York-based Israeli guitarist Yotam is joined by bassist Christian McBride, pianist Aaron Goldberg, drummer Gregory Hutchinson, and horn man Ray Hargrove (two tracks) on this smoking hot disc. The 28 year-old Yotam’s tones are exquisitely old school but his playing is fresh, fiery, and bursting with joyful exuberance, and musically he’s one heavy cat. JLP.
Fahir Atakoglu, Faces & Places
This ambitious, semi-orchestral album by Turkish keyboardist Atakoglu features an extraordinary lineup—including a string section—but of special note to guitar players are acoustic guitarist Romero Lubambo, flamenco virtuoso Rene Toledo, and electric mastermind Wayne Krantz, all of whom turn in stunning performances. Far & Here.
Mitch Marcus Quintet, Countdown 2 Meltdown
Chockablock with deep grooves—often in odd time signatures—and frighteningly tight horn arrangements, this disc by Bay Area tenor man Marcus features lots of fantastic playing by guitarist Mike Abraham, who brings a super-potent, angular, noisy, and consistently creative voice to the proceedings. Jazz Cubed.
The Sandro Albert Quartet, Vertical
Veteran Brazilian guitarist Albert, who was deeply influenced by Jimmy Wyble and George Van Eps—and who has played with artists ranging from Kenny Garrett to Airto Moreira to Rod Stewart—leads this tasteful quartet that also includes drums, bass, and flute. Simultaneously smart, savvy, buoyant and breezy—it’s the musical equivalent of a lovely summer afternoon. Daywood Drive.
Ralph Herrnkind, Herrnkind
German guitarist Herrnkind plays both acoustic and Steinberger electric guitars on this mostly upbeat fusion-y outing that sometimes borders precariously on smooth jazz. Shades of Di Meola, McLaughlin, and Beck filter through. Alive.
Tom Lagana, Schematic
A one-time protégé of Charlie Byrd, Lagana coaxes pretty tones out of his Klein solidbody with a light touch on this collection of mostly mellow and relatively straight-ahead arrangements. Saxophonist George Garzone guests. Harvesttime Entertainment.