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Michael Felberbaum: Sweetsalt (2007)

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Michael Felberbaum: Sweetsalt How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Playing clubs in Rome at the age of fifteen, learning and performing with many U.S. artists, and leading his own bands in Paris—Michael Felberbaum knows a thing or two about modern jazz guitar.

Not only does he know a little something, but you can hear it in his playing with music that is filled with panache, potency, and touch, on the stimulating Sweet Salt.

The usual guitar influences could be referenced (Pat Metheny, John Scofield, et al.), but Felberbaum stretches towards the boundaries of contemporaries like Ben Monder, Adam Rogers, and Mike Moreno, establishing new plugged-in destinations.

Felberbaum's project for this release successfully links "intelligence and emotion with music that evinces contemporary stories such as "Tal Tales, a simple melody that expands episodically, and "All Fall, a pastoral rural-like tune that dawns like a sunrise over a beautiful vista, unfolding into a modern swinging set with colorful lines and searing instrumentals.

But there's also an edgy street-wise attitude that permeates the music with calculated, labyrinthine patterns, glued together by a most serious band: Pierre De Bethmann plays with a Herbie Hancock-like progressiveness, whether attacking the ivories or providing inquisitive touches on Fender Rhodes. Intricate harmonies are supported by the sturdiness of bassist Darryl Hall and drummer Karl Jannuska, both put the hump on the funky "Camel and the metro-cool in "Phosphor-Essence.

From undulating, complex tempos ("London ), to slower contemplative works ("A Brief Interval ), there's not a weak piece in the set, all warranting multiple spins. Add Michael Felberbaum to the growing list of talented French guitarists such as Misja Fitzgerald-Michel, Sylvain Luc, and Biréli Lagrène.

Track Listing: All Fall; Camel; Tal Tales; Sweetsalt; PhosphorEssence; London; A Brief Interval; Coin; Opi Dance.

Personnel: Michael Felberbaum: guitar; Pierre De Bethmann: piano, Fender Rhodes; Darryl Hall: bass; Karl Jannuska: drums.

Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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