James Silberstein: Expresslane (2008)

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James Silberstein: Expresslane
It's unclear why a guitar-featured album with a bunch of solid horn players on hand engenders feelings of nervousness—especially when they are pros like tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, trumpeter Jim Rotundi and trombonist Steve Davis. From the opening bars of Cole Porter's "From This Moment On," on James Silberstein's Expresslane, horn riffs are heard alongside guitar chords and runs.

It is obvious, though, that Silberstein is quite comfortable in this setting and enjoys sharing the spotlight with his fellow musicians—and quite well. On Jack Wilkins' "Kiwi Bird," Anne Drummond's flute plays the melody in tandem with Silberstein, adding a touch of classical jazz to the motif. Then, for Raye/DePaul's "You Don't Know What Love Is," bassist Harvie S opens with an achingly beautiful arco solo. Whenever he gets to solo, Silberstein is a walking jazz guitar lesson for the styles of Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall and so many others. They are all good and they all swing.

The horns are mostly heard playing in unison, although Rotundi, Alexander and Davis all get to rip through some vital up-tempo solos, with Davis especially strong in these settings. Vocalist Kate McGarry opens a door and provides some Luciana Souza-like vocalese on "Shadows." Silberstein plays some effective originals, then tackles a swinging Rodgers & Hart "My Romance," a bossa version of Carmichael and Mercer's "Skylark" and a solo stint on J.J. Johnson's jazz classic, "Lament."

Track Listing: From This Moment On; Kiwi Bird; You Dont Know What Love Is; Come Rain or Shine; Shadows; Express Lane; A Simple Thank You; Glass Garden; My Romance; Skylark; Lament.

Personnel: James Silberstein: electic guitar; Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone (1, 4, 5, 7, 8); Jim Rotondi: trumpet, flugelhorn (1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8); Steve Davis: trombone (1, 4); Harvie S: bass; Jill McCarron: piano (1-8, 10); Vince Cherico: drums (1-10); Daniel Sadownick: percussions (3, 5, 7, 8, 10); Anne Drummond: flute (2, 5); Kate McGarry: vocals (5).

Record Label: Consolidated Artists Productions

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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