Steve Rochinski: A Bird in the Hand (2002)

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Boston­based Steve Rochinski soars well above the commonplace with A Bird in the Hand, a well­crafted studio session that elicits a series of remarkable statements from the guitarist and his teammates. Rochinski is clearly a world­class player with immaculate technique, free­flowing ideas and an unwavering propensity to swing under any and all conditions. While Rochinski seems able to do whatever he pleases, one thing he does not do is focus the spotlight on himself at the expense of his trio or quartet, and the interplay among them is exemplary. Each member of the group is given an opportunity to exercise his voice, and none of them warbles off­key. Of course, no session is better than its material, and Rochinski’s choices are superb, from Victor Young’s “Beatiful Love” to his solo tribute to grandfather Stanley Rochinski Sr. who co­wrote (with Carmen Lombardo) the easygoing finale, “Powder Your Face with Sunshine.” Between them are two winners by the wonderful Jerome Kern, “They Didn’t Believe Me” and the almost­unknown but no less charming “Go Little Boat,” Cole Porter’s “Get Out of Town” (played bossa­style) and a medley of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust” and Johnny Green’s “Body and Soul.” From the Jazz canon come Thelonious Monk’s “’Round Midnight” and “Monk’s Dream,” Herbie Nichols’ “House Party Starting,” fellow guitarist Tal Farlow’s “Tina” and Benny Golson’s ballad, “Hassan’s Dream.” Especially delightful is Charlie Parker’s “Bird in the Hand,” on which Rochinski’s overdubbed guitar becomes a threesome. The trio is heard on four tracks, with pianist Bruce Thomas making it a quartet on five others. “’Round Midnight” and the “Stardust” / “Body and Soul” medley are duets for Rochinski and bassist Scott Lee. As I’ve often said, I couldn’t tell one guitarist from another if the correct answer meant winning the lottery, but I do know who can play. Steve Rochinski is a formidable talent, and A Bird in the Hand is a marvelous example of his exceptional artistry.

Contact:Jardis Records, D­66583 Spiesen­Elversberg, Schubertstrasse 12, Germany. Web site, www.jardis.de

Track Listing: Beautiful Love; Monk

Personnel: Steve Rochinski, guitar; Bruce Thomas, piano; Scott Lee, bass; Joe Hunt, drums.

Record Label: Jardis Music

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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