Ken Rose: Slowpoke (2002)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
This is yet another fine new guitarist waiting to be discovered by the public and other plectrists, a Bostonian product who savored the exposure to famed guitarists passing through town. Mr. Rose reports being influenced by Jim Hall, Mick Goodrick, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Bill Frisell, John Abercrombie and Mike Stern and Randy Roos, with whom he studied. Frankly, I found that his delivery is quite different from the harsher end of that group (e.g. Stern, Scofield and to many degrees Goodrick and Abercrombie).
The album consists of six originals, one Monk tune and two John Lewis pieces. On the opening and closing numbers, the group is joined by Charlie Kohlhase on baritone sax, and Phil Grenadier on trumpet appears on another composition. As much as I hate to admit it, I really enjoyed the texture that the two horns brought to these numbers and would have liked to have heard more. Although I've heard Kohlhase before, and I know that he doubles on baritone and alto, I never made any particular notice of the distinction. On these tracks, he rumbles along as a latter day Pepper Adams. Grenadier, whom I've heard on some avant-garde records, plays a cool muted horn on "Jean Shaw." 'Tis a pleasure to hear Lewis' "Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West" once again. It was a jazz staple in the '50s and '60s and the beautiful "Afternoon in Paris" most often associated with the MJQ. A bit of a mystery exists in that "New Season" is "The Lamp is Low" as far as I'm concerned.
Rose's group and guests are all Boston-based and Kohlhase is probably the most widely recorded, having been on Boston's Accurate label for a while. They all play well with occasional solos. Ken Rose distinguishes himself by sounding like a much older guitarist, a lyrical yet blues-based player like classic players from the '60s. This is a guy to listen to and enjoy the ride. He plays without jamming notes down our throats and seems to relish the clean articulation of his solos.
Track Listing: One Moe Blues, Old Friends, Two Degrees East,Three Degrees West, New Season, Jean Shaw, Bye-Ya, Afternoon in Paris, Slow Poke, Lift.
Personnel: Ken Rose,guitar; John Turner, bass; Steve Rose,drums; special guests:Charlie Kohlhase, baritone sax; Phil Grenadier, trumpet