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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Herberman: Ideals

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Much of what is written in reviews about Steve Herberman's playing is analogous to the created illusion of two guitarists, or the use of overdubbing. Ideals, however, finds such a statement wanting and unsuitable. Guitar and piano trios have always had a distinctive vibe and aesthetic, but here, Herberman blurs the line with his adept application of counterpoint and refined harmonic epitome. Voicings never sound 'stock,' but well considered and purposeful and by no means overly contrived. Improvised lines roll out with subtle diversity in phrasing and above all, dynamic contrast. His accompaniment (both of himself and his band mates) ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Herberman Trio: Action: Reaction

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East Coast guitarist Steve Herberman presents a program of his original compositions on Action: Reaction. Along with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Mark Ferber, he romps and stomps in jazz's modern mainstream climate with creative asides added into each selection. Theirs is an equal-sharing trio that puts each voice into the spotlight throughout the session. Each artist takes solo opportunities, but the emphasis remains on three-way duties where everyone leads together.

Herberman plays a 7-string guitar, which extends the bass range of the instrument. Thus, his interpretations move fluidly up and down the registers with utmost freedom. His ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Herberman Trio: Action:Reaction

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Steve Herberman, who plays the seven-string guitar, is blessed with an abundance of technique. The instrument, which has been his to fathom since 1993, is now an articulate messenger for his ministrations.

Herberman writes with his eye on the palette that this guitar provides. His creativity infuses the music and it matters not whether he is out on a bop groove, indulging in swing or playing a ballad. He is the master of the up-tempo and the introspective.

Herberman forms a potent combination with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Mark Ferber. The two rhythm men also bring in several ideas ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Herberman Trio: Action: Reaction

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Washington, DC-based guitarist Steve Herberman comes into your ear-space with an authority and clarity on Action: Reaction that immediately grabs your attention. However there's more to this recording than just fretboard fireworks; his trio with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Mark Ferber delivers a three-musician communiqué of solid jazz. Herberman is reminiscent of straight-ahead greats Jim Hall and Joe Pass, with a lyrical and expressive touch. But he stamps out his own identity with a seven-string guitar (the extra string extending the bass range) and playing marked by clever fingerpicking, deep phrasing, and an ability to fill ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Herberman Trio: Action: Reaction

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This is, by coincidence, the fourth jazz guitar album in a row that I've reviewed, and it's the best of the bunch. Steve Herberman is a Washington, DC-based musician who previously released Thought Lines (Reach Music, 2001). Instead of a strategic mix of originals and standards, Herberman provides all-new compositions for Action: Reaction. Herberman uses a seven-string guitar, which is relatively underutilized. A few months ago, I reviewed a release from Fred Fried who made the switch after studying under George Van Eps, a master of the seven-string guitar. Fried's reasoning was that the use of the added ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Herberman: Action:Reaction

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One extra string--from six to seven--does indeed make a difference on the guitar. It extends the bass range, and it lends an added richness to the harmonies. Like fellow guitarist Fred Fried, Steve Herberman plays a seven string instrument to craft a distinctive sound. Herberman's previous CD, Thought Lines (Reach Music, '02) mixed standards and originals. Action:Reaction is a set of all Herberman originals.The disc's title suggests the working mode of the trio. The guitarist is joined here by a couple of stalwarts of the New York City jazz scene, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Mark Ferber. The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Herberman: Thought Lines

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Thought Lines is a perfect title for this leader debut from Maryland-based guitarist Steve Herberman, since his guitar lines seem to flow as naturally as thought. This CD was a welcome companion on my recent road trip after a winter storm, perfectly suiting that contemplative, long-drive mood, with enough spark and swing to keep me chugging along. There's a gentleness to Herberman's playing that matched the snow-covered forests I was passing, but there's also plenty of groove in there too. His decision not to use a pick warms his sound and makes it more organic, while his use of the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Herberman: Thought Lines

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Straight-ahead jazz comes in many forms. The instrumentation he’s chosen for his album keeps Steve Herberman’s debut fine and mellow. His 7-string guitar is played with the fingers. Hence, the music tends to flow with a seamless charm that emphasizes melody and harmony. His band mates solo in like manner, producing a session full of swingin’ ease and loaded with genuine expression. You get the impression these four artists have been together for decades. Mixing standards with originals, Herberman mesmerizes with his allure. He’s described each piece in detail, and provides a few audio samples for the label’s web site ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Herberman: Thought Lines

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Guitarist Steve Herberman is someone to watch --- or listen to, rather. His guitar riffs have a smooth, comforting feel that surpasses the increasing monotony of smooth-jazz radio outlets. In Thought Lines , an often very fine album, Herberman’s guitar conjures up a hearty helping of jazz standards. Everyone from Oscar Hammerstein, Jerome Kern, Charlie Christian, Benny Goodman, Thelonious Monk, Billy Strayhorn and The Duke himself are agreeably reincarnated.

From a solid, smooth-meets-bounce opener, “I Wish I Knew” where Herberman’s guitar meshes nicely with Bruce Swaim’s tenor sax, to a near note-for-note remaking of Monk’s “Criss Cross,” Herberman and his ...



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