Jake Langley: Here and Now (2009)
Here and Now is a hard-boppin' and soulful organ trio release by ex-pat Canadian guitarist Jake Langley, who now resides in New York City. After spending several years touring and recording with the Joey DeFrancesco trio, which was featured on Langley's previous album, Langley has opted to feature another trio on this record. It consists of organist Sam Yahel and drummer Ian Froman, with both musicians bringing a deep sense of groove and high level of creativity to every track.
The tunes are a tasteful mix of Langley originals and arrangements of jazz and pop standards. Langley's writing has always been one of his strong suits. It cannot easily be lumped into one category, as Langley borrows from a wide range of musical inspirations. "Here and Now" has a modern modal vibe to it, while "The Ropers" features compelling harmonic movement, and "2012" is a hard-driving waltz with just enough Wes Montgomery thrown in to pay tribute to the six-string legend while still sounding like a Langley original. Aside from the original compositions there are four arrangements of jazz and pop standards, including McCoy Tyner's "Blues on the Corner" and a compelling reworking of the Gordon Lightfoot classic "If You Could Read My Mind."
Langley proves throughout why he is one of the best hard bop and soul jazz guitarists on the scene. His solos are firmly based in the hard bop tradition, with enough modern vocabulary to prevent the record from sounding dated or clichéd. Langley's ability to mix modern and traditional vocabulary, especially on the tunes "Here and Now" and "Singularity," creates new and diverse levels of interest that prevent any solo or track from becoming stagnant or monotonous. Showing he is more than a single-line player, Langley lays down a haunting solo chord-melody rendition of "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" that is one of the most memorable moments on the record.
Here and Now is a snapshot of Langley's ever-evolving musical output. The tunes are well-written and creatively arranged, the band is always in the pocket, and Langley's solos are a clinic on how to play modern jazz guitar.
Track Listing: Here and Now; L-Train; Singularity; 2012; Goodbye Pork Pie Hat; The Ropers; If You Could See Me Now; Blues on the Corner; You Must Believe in Spring.
Personnel: Jake Langley: guitar; Sam Yahel: B3 organ; Ian Froman: drums.
Record Label: Self Produced