Bob Sneider: Out of the Darkness (2001)
Guitarist Bob Sneider, based in Rochester, New York, won two Downbeat awards for "Best Performance" before he was out of college, then went on to perform with Houston Person, Freddie Cole, Nnenna Freelon, and Jon Faddis; he also toured with Chuck Mangione for four years. Now teaching jazz guitar at the prestigious Eastman School of Music, Sneider is a classy player with a honeyed tone and smooth, melodic lines. Out of the Darkness is a good title for a CD where dissonance is an accent, rather than a lifestyle; listening to it is like taking a springtime ride with the top down.
On Sneider's second outing for Sons of Sound , he appears in different settings - duo with percussion, bebop quintet, trio - each revealing a different color in his extensive palette. His writing gifts are especially evident on the burning title tune and the tender "Waltz for Aleta," and his addition of an intriguing head-twist to "Love Walked In." There's a good mix of electric and acoustic guitar, and the pacing is a naturalistic, satisfying sequence of density and mood. A string quartet enhances two tracks without adding any of that cloying sweetness; in fact, "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" is a highlight of the album, along with the graceful takes on "Isfahan," "Pyramid," and Jobim's "Dreamer." Bassist Bob Stata, pianist Paul Hofmann and drummer Mike melito are consistently first-rate. The last track, Kenny Burrell's "Lyrestro," is actually a concert video, playable on Quicktime 3.0, which my antique equipment will not accommodate; but while I can't report on the audio, the video reveals that a good time was had by all. It certainly sounds like it. A thoroughly enjoyable CD.
Track Listing: Isfahan, Out of the Darkness, David's Tune, Waltz for Aleta, Love Walked In, Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye, Vivo Sonhando (Dreamer), If I Had You, You'd Be So Nice to Come Home to, Pyramid, Lyresto
Personnel: Bob Sneider (electric and classical guitar), John Sneider (trumpet), Paul Hofmann (piano), Bob Stata (bass), Mike Melito (drums), Tony Padilla (percussion), string quartet: Diedre Foley (violin), Heather Netz (violin), Adrienne Sommerville (viola), Christoher Hutton (cello), strings arranged by David Ravello