How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Pianist Herb Silverstein has a day job that makes for a good story to go along with the music he makes on Beach Walker. But music first...
This set of twelve original compositions, delivered by Silverstein on piano, plus guitar, sax, bass and drums, has a vibrant straight-ahead glow, a bit on the cerebralyet still engagingside of sound, a bit tangy and progressive, with LaRue Nickelson's electric and acoustic guitars dancing seamlessly alongside the leader's keyboard. The four tunes featuring the Lobster String Quartet create a beautiful "with strings" mood; while the jazzier numbers, like the title tune, really cook, the string tunes stand out for this listener, with a gentle swirl of harmony that fleshes out Silverstein's ideasa classical tinge adding a soft luster to the proceedings. "Awesome Autumn" pairs strings with Jack Wilkins' tenor saxophone with marvelous results, and Silverstein's solo has a the delicate grace of a nimble musical surgeon, a lilting momentum that leads back to the saxophone.
The day job? Dr. Herb Silverstein's main gig is as an ear surgeon and "innovator of procedures and devices for the hearing impaired," and he is also the head of the Silverstein Institute, which provides diagnosis and treatment for ailments of the head, neck, nose, and ears. A first rate talent in his first job, it seems, and a top level jazz man, too, with Beach Walker to prove it.
Proceeds from the sale of this and Dr. Silverstein's eight previous CDs help to fund the Ear Research Foundation.
Track Listing: Beach Walker, Awesome Autumn, Nip of Time, Go Fourth, 9.11, While You Were Away, High-Heeled Lady, Jack Remembered (The Firefly), A French Wedding, Amund Joy Waltz, The Bird Returns
Personnel: Jack Wilkins--flute, tenor sax, Herb Silverstein--piano; LaRue Nickelson--guitars; Richard Drexler--bass; Joel Spenser--drums; Steve Moretti--drums; The Lobster String Quartet: Arur Girsky--1st violin; David Dillingham--2nd violin; Lowell Adams-cello; Ken Kwo--viola