Guitarist John Stein’s fifth release as a leader carries him through favorite standards such as “Poinciana,” “Darn That Dream,” “Django,” “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and “Bluesette.” With bassist John Lockwood and drummer Yoron Israel, the long time Berklee College of Music faculty member achieves a superb sense of unity. Hand in hand, the threesome waltzes gently through familiar territory and sprinkles fresh additives along the way.
Lockwood’s deep timbre and lustrous tone complement the leader’s guitar throughout the session. His lyrical solos would turn heads in a live performance, because he speaks out with such passion and understanding. Amplified guitar and amplified double bass give the program a smooth texture. Israel’s underlying rhythms achieve the same purpose as his partners: to complement each other with like-minded activity. The drummer’s extended solo on “Poinciana” puts the listener on the edge of his seat: the result of its range of dynamics and depth of textures.
Stein’s spontaneity and Lockwood’s far-reaching tangents carry the session higher and higher. The album’s got to turn out as one of the year’s best. The trio’s combination of superb musicianship and heartfelt passion are precisely what is needed to succeed. Just what the doctor ordered, a few times around the block with Interplay will brighten even the darkest day.
Personnel: John Stein- guitar; John Lockwood- bass; Yoron Isreal- drums.