Not Even the Rain
, guitarist Jeff Libman's debut CD, is both pleasant and stimulating. It contains creative solos by Libman and Hammond B3 organist Michael Kocour, with drummer Shaun Lowecki providing terrific backing.
As well as being a talented composer and arranger, Libmanwho hails from Phoenix, Arizonateaches music at the college level. Here, he comes up with well-shaped versions of five standards and three tuneful originals.
The group performs regularly in the Phoenix area, and you can tell by the execution of their tight arrangements. Most numbers begin with Libman's guitar, with Kocour's organ then taking over. Many end in climactic flourishes, with drummer Lowecki always active in the background.
A softly swinging "Tangerine starts things off well, but is soon topped by the trio taking Carol King's "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow into the jazz canon. This vibrant arrangement is notable for Kocour's blue shades of sweeping organ, backing Libman's delicate fingering.
The Cahn/Van Heusen chestnut, "Only the Lonely, brings the album's quality fully into focus with soft lyrical solos by both Libman and Kocour.
Libman's "Candle Wax grabs the attention, with his refrain on guitar slowly rising above the crescendo of organ and drums. Here, Kocour pulls out all stops, taking drummer Lowecki's clamor with him. Another original, "Too Beautiful," shows off Kocour and Libman's soft and sensitive side.
The CD concludes resoundingly with Libman's "Come and Go, where Kocour gets the chance to stretch out, with the others coming in like slow, rolling thunder.
Personnel: Jeff Libman: guitar; Michael Kocour: Hammond B3 organ; Shaun Lowecki: drums