Mike Lorenz: Of The Woods (2012)
On his debut, Of The Woods, Philadelphia guitarist Mike Lorenz shows not only his guitar skills, but his gifted compositional talents as well. With an innovative sound combining modern, free, and bebop jazz styles, Of the Woods is an easy listen while, at the same time, pushing new boundaries of jazz. It is obvious, throughout this work, that this 27 year-old guitar virtuoso is pleased to share the time on his compositions with his very talented quintet including alto saxophonist Mike Cemprola, who is featured on several tunes, and tonally beautiful pianist Matt Mitchell.
Lorenz goes note-for-note with Cemprola on "Between Signals" demonstrating both his guitar skills and ear for music. All members of the band contribute on this tune, with outstanding free form rhythms from drummer Matt Scarano. "North/South" is a standout tune, with its lyrical and wistful melody; Mitchell plays beautifully here, with a striking double bass solo from Brian Howell and brush stroke drumming by Scarano. The tune builds for a moment, when all the band members play together, but then ends quietly with a soft guitar and sax duet. This is one well thought-out jazz tune, compelling for its beauty and power; actually, beauty and power may well describe this well-produced CD overall.
Lorenz is a young Philadelphia talent with a great future ahead. If Of the Woods is any indication of his future work, jazz indeed has something to look forward to in the years to come.
Track Listing: Another Day; Between Signals; North/South; I Know Of No Such Thing; Were You Thinking Of Me?; Routine Five; 3 Step
Personnel: Mike Lorenz: guitar, Mike Cemprola: alto saxophone, Matt Mitchell: piano, Brian Howell: bass, Matt Scarano, drums
Record Label: Mike Lorenz Music
Style: Modern Jazz