With guitarist Todd Mussman, you essentially get two musicians for the price of one. Playing an eight-string guitar, Mussman has the ability to play both the bass line and guitar part at the same time. Add drummer Chris Parker and you have a duo ably playing the role of a trio.
If that sounds a bit gimmicky, a quick listen to File Under Jazz quickly dispels any uncertainty. Mussman and Parker create a full, rich sound that never comes across as compromised or underdeveloped. On a cover of Wes Montgomery's "Road Song Mussman checks in with a pithy, soulful solo without ever letting the bass part fall by the wayside. At the same time, Parker provides, sharp, crisp, and stimulating support.
If Mussman's playing is understandably the focus of the album, credit must also be given to his compositions. Excluding the Montgomery tune, the rest of the program is entirely self-composed. "When The Day Is Done, a wistful and melodic waltz, is a particular standout. It sounds like the lazy release that comes when a hard day's work is comfortably in the past.
At only 21 years old, Mussman is a performer of rare accomplishment. His playing is truly incredible and his compositional skills will only grow with time. File Under Jazz is a valuable document of an artist who is hopefully only at the beginning of a very fine career. Todd Mussman is definitely an artist worth keeping an eye on.
Personnel: Todd Mussman: 8-string guitar; Chris Parker: drums.