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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Sneider-Joe Locke Film Noir Project: Nocturne for Ava

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In 2006, guitarist Bob Sneider and vibraphonist Joe Locke assembled a collective devoted to the jazz soundtrack of noir fiction called The Film Noir Project. That same year they released Fallen Angel (Sons of Sound). Switching labels, Sneider and Locke release their second Film Noir Project installment in Nocturne for Ava, honoring the brunette bombshell Ava Gardner and her contributions to the noir genre like the film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's The Killers.

It is a subtle hypnotism Sneider and Locke perform by naming their collective The Film Noir Project. Billed as being dedicated to the spirit of the jazz ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Sneider & Joe Locke Film Noir Project: Nocturne for Ava

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Nocturne for Ava slips into noir territory--under night's cover, fedora pulled down low, trench coat collar up, immersed in a night of blurry neon glowing through a low misty fog, much in the fashion of its predecessor, Fallen Angel (Sons of Sound, 2006). Both sets celebrate noir classics and movie tunes written for or inspired by the darker side of the celluloid experience. They are moodily atmospheric, melancholic, and seductive, with a sometimes morose inward feeling in the mode of Miles Davis' Ascenseur Pour l'Echafaud (Fontana Records, 1958), but with an expanded pallet.The Film Noir Project is the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Sneider/Mike Melito/Phil Flanigan: All Through the Night

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If this disc is any indication of the caliber of jazz musicians in the Rochester, New York area, then it would seem that the music is in good hands around said environs. So the story goes, guitarist Bob Sneider has played an integral part in leading the nightly jam sessions that occur during the duration of each year's Rochester International Jazz Festival, and this studio date is somewhat of a homage to those sets. No stranger to the jazz scene there, Sneider's experience boasts of time spent with Chuck Mangione and a role as educator at the Eastman School of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Sneider / Mike Melito / Phil Flanigan: All Through the Night

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No one will be able to sleep all through this night, a collection of bright, swinging performances from this gifted Rochester trio, whose long and happy association is evident in their relaxed, empathic interplay. Here, guitarist Bob Sneider, bassist Phil Flanigan and drummer Mike Melito are joined by a stellar guest roster, creating a pleasing balance between the five trio and six quartet tracks. It's a solid and spirited session that includes some lesser-known tunes by Jackie McLean and Billy Higgins as well as a buffet of old favorites, all beautifully rendered.

Aside from its consistently high level ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Sneider & Paul Hofman: Escapade

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Bob Sneider and Paul Hofmann called their first collaborative effort “Interconnection," and that was an apt name, for the two showed that they had an affinity that resulted in some darned fine music. Though their second collaboration finds them concentrating on original material, they also look at standards, including a Nat Cole medley, and even add a twist of jazz to a classical tune.

Given their familiarity with each other, it is not surprising that the recording offers a cohesive mood, no matter what style of music they play. They intertwine ideas with fluidity and extend thoughts with seamless logic. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Sneider and Paul Hofmann: Escapade

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The history of duo recordings boasts some standout pairings: Bill Evans and Jim Hall, Nat “King" Cole and Oscar Moore, Chick Corea and Gary Burton, Stan Getz and Kenny Brown. Guitarist Bob Sneider and pianist Paul Hofmann approach the duo format with masterful technique and imagination on Escapade, a followup to Interconnection (Sons of Sound, '04).Sneider is a two-time winner of Down Beat's Outstanding Performance in Jazz Award and has performed with Chuck Mangione, Nat Adderley and Jon Faddis. He is currently an Instructor of Jazz Guitar at the Eastman School of Music and frequently appears with the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Sneider and Joe Locke Film Noir Project: Fallen Angel

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Very, very nice this one is, the absence of an overall noir atmosphere no cause for complaint. The project, under the leadership of Bob Sneider and Joe Locke, looks at the scores of cinematic works of the film noir genre, simply for material worth performing. Maybe somebody thought the genre might have occasioned unusual inspiration and produced themes of substantial jazz potential. Speculate if you like, and admire the considerable inventiveness of the arrangements.

There's something in the initial material. Witness notably Grant Stewart's building of a tenor solo on “Mulholland Falls," which couldn't have been done without a foundation. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Bob Sneider & Joe Locke Film Noir Project: Fallen Angel

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The dark, haunting world of film noir has returned to thrill viewers in a spate of releases on DVD in recent months. This Film Noir Project transposes that spell to music, capturing the essence of the themes that enhance the thrill of watching the films. Music, even in its darkest ambit, can be elevating. Bob Sneider and Joe Locke not only take soundtracks from classic movies, they also add some from films that fell flat on their face. But they bring the music to life, making each tune a unique experience.

Perhaps the most well-known theme here is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Bob Sneider and Joe Locke Film Noir Project: Fallen Angel

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This music is as subtle and nuanced as the shadows in an old black-and-white movie. Like the film noir that inspired it, Fallen Angel is romantic and jaded, beautiful and cynical, and full of longing and disappointment, all at the same time. The material is excellent: vibraphonist Joe Locke's “Fallen Angel" and pianist Paul Hofmann's “Last Kiss" blend seamlessly into the mood, while the arrangements ensure that the dark, velvety spell continues, regardless of tempo. There isn't a jarring note anywhere in the mix, which is so well-designed that it's nearly a song cycle.

Some great film composers are represented, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Bob Sneider & Joe Locke Film Noir Project: Fallen Angel

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Upstate New York might seem an unlikely place for a jazz scene to develop, but Rochester's renowned Eastman School of Music has provided fertile common ground for a wealth of players to come together over the years. Guitarist Bob Sneider and pianist Paul Hofmann, for example, recorded Interconnection (Sons of Sound, 2004) and a recently released followup, Escapade (Sons of Sound, 2006), mining similar territory as Bill Evans and Jim Hall's classic Undercurrent (Blue Note, 1963), albeit with an understandably more contemporary bent.

Now a confirmed New Yorker, vibraphonist Joe Locke also grew up in Rochester and attended Eastman. So, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Sneider & Paul Hoffmann: Interconnection

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Any literate review of Interconnection will mention the classic duo recordings Bill Evans and Jim Hall made in the mid-'60s, and for good reason: guitarist Bob Sneider and pianist Paul Hoffmann approach improvisation in much the same way. Their world is one of dynamic interaction, spare phrasing, polite poise, clean tone, and a certain intangible cerebral element which comes across by implication. Hoffmann's four-part suite which launches the record sounds so uncannily like the earlier recordings that it's almost scary.

Those comparisons hold Interconnection up to high standards, and to be honest the recording falls short. But is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Sneider & Paul Hofmann: Interconnection

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Guitar/piano duets are a rarity, if only because there is often an inherent difficulty in finding a way to work together without stepping on each others’ toes. Notable exceptions, of course, include records with Bill Evans and Jim Hall; Pat Martino and Gil Goldstein; and, in more recent years, Bill Frisell and Fred Hersch. Now add to that list Interconnection , which teams up guitarist Bob Sneider and pianist Paul Hofmann in a programme that proves that good ears and a common purpose can make this rarity of a combination work without difficulty.

Sneider, a veteran of Chuck Mangione’s band, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Sneider: Out of the Darkness

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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 ...



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