Memo to all those folks who insist that "real" jazz is dead, or at least on life support: do check out the leader/producing debut of 23-year-old guitarist Graham Dechter. His Right on Time supplies irrefutable evidence that the tradition is not only alive, but flourishing, because of young artists like Dechter who are both able and eager to carry the torch.
The first thing you notice is Dechter's warm, round tone; what registers next are his great time, technique, and expressiveness. Dechter has filled the guitar chair in the peerless Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra since the ripe old age of 19, when he was plucked from the Eastman School of Music by drummer and co-producer Jeff Hamilton
("Lined With a Groove," where Clayton plays Brown's exact intro line on Brown's actual bass, which is now his). Most of the ten tracks gleam with energy; "Squatty Roo" is a whiz-bang tour de force all around, where Hendelman conjures Oscar Peterson
with his blazing two-handed runs. There's also a pair of lustrous ballads: "The Nearness of You" and "With Every Breath I Take," with its achingly beautiful duet between Clayton's burnished arco and Dechter's elegant lines. Finally, the recording quality is so crisp and real that you can almost count every strand of Hamilton's brushes, and his dazzling solos roll between the speakers, bringing the listener right smack into the middle of the band.
All told, Right on Time provides an hour of terrific jazz as well as hope for its future. It's a rare, powerful and uplifting combinationwhich also happens to swing like mad.
Track Listing: Low Down; Wave; The Nearness of You; I Ain't Got Nothin' But the Blues; Broadway; Right on Time (Db Tune); Squatty Roo; With Every Breath I Take; Lined with a Groove; In a Mellow Tone.
Personnel: Graham Dechter: guitar; Tamir Hendelman: piano; John Clayton: bass; Jeff Hamilton: drums.
Author of "The Insanity Hoax: Exposing the myth of the mad genius," Dr. J combines her love of jazz and her fascination with psychology, focusing on where they overlap: in celebrating the individual spirit.