Jack Wilkins Quartet: Heading North
String Jazz caught Jack Wilkins and Jimmy Bruno in England at the same time and decided to record them under the mantle of a quartet led by Wilkins. That's misleading because Bruno is as prominent as Wilkins as the settings range from solo performances to quartet. Whatever, the outcome is an album that will be enjoyed by jazz guitar fans in particular and jazz lovers in general.
This is not the first time these two master string men have performed together. In1997, they were at the Benedetto Concert on Long Island, NY for master guitar builder Robert Benedetto. The synergy they developed then is even more highly honed now. "Voyage" is high energy stuff with Patrick Illingworth's drums calling the rhythm shots. Wilkins' clean guitar lines contrast with Bruno's fondness for chords and octave playing and fidelity to the big-toned electric tradition is evident here and elsewhere. This burner is tempered by cooler playing on such cuts as "Give Me the Simple Life " with Bruno kicking off the melody and Wilkins taking a later chorus as track comes to an end with friendly chord trading. For me the most startling cut on the album, :You'd be So Nice to Come Home to", kicks in as if it were written by Telemann, Vivaldi or some other Baroque composer, before sequing nicely into a medium tempo where each of the protagonists reveals dazzling technique and speed. There are times on this cut where one wonders whether a third guitarist snuck into the studio. Their respective bop upbringing come to the fore in Denzil Best's classic "Move".
This album captures two jazz guitarists at the top of their form both completely confident of their mastery of the instrument and the music they have chosen to play on it. Recommended.
Track Listing: Relaxin' at Camarillo; One Note Samba; Kiwi Bird; You'd Be so Nice to Come Home to; Some Time Ago; Perdido; When I Fall in Love; Carninhos Cruzados; Voyage; There Will Never Be Another You; Move; Give Me the Simple Life; In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning; Broadway
Personnel: Jack Wilkins, Jimmy Bruno - Guitar; Phil France - Bass; Patrick Illingworth - Drums