This record really snuck up on me. One moment you’re casually listening to The Jazz Guitar Of Mark Capon
and the next you’re wondering, “Who the hell is this cat?” A New York City based guitarist, Capon offers the kind of playing that is so effortless it makes guitarists struggling with their craft want to give up for good. Schooled by the great Tal Farlow, he shares his mentor’s skill for crisp tones and fleet-fingered swing. Capon’s melodic instincts are fine-tuned, as he seems to know exactly when strike a chord or sail off on a single line passage. And it’s his intuitive playing, combined with an expressive reverb sound, that make this journey through the American Songbook linger in one’s memory long after Capon has plucked the final note.
The highlights are many on this recording. There’s no denying the quick-fire precision of Capon’s playing on his jet-speed version of “Broadway” in which he is matched note for note by pianist Ray Alexander. His cleverly crafted variations on “Angel Eyes” are quite compelling, setting up his chords with a gentle single string phrases. His elongated tones transport “I’m Glad There Is You” to the heavens, and the same can be said of the sweet chords and lilting melodic lines of “Just Squeeze Me” and “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most.” But best of all is the version of “Cute,” where Capon’s melodic invention and expert pacing transform the Styne-Hefti standard into a minor masterpiece on par with the best work of Tal Farlow or Barney Kessel.
The majority of The Jazz Guitar Of Mark Capon is in a trio setting, and that seems appropriate. The fullness of Capon’s sound and his intelligently constructed solos would lead one to think that additional instruments would merely get in the way. But that’s hardly the case when Ray Alexander’s piano joins in for buoyant rhythmic support and some spectacular choruses on “Cherokee,” “Broadway” and “Have You Met Miss Jones?” Bassist Rick Eckberg is no slouch, either. His responsive playing on “Angel Eyes” mirrors the simmering dynamics of Capon’s choruses. He also plucks off some tricky phrases during his solo on the brisk version of “Have You Met Miss Jones?”
Suffice to say, this record is an absolute delight. That it was released in 1999 and still earning acclaim is a testament to Mark Capon’s obvious talents. This record is available from CD Baby (see also right panel) or by calling 212-995-9263.
Personnel: Mark Capon: guitar;
Rick Eckberg: bass;
Dick Johnson: drums;
Ray Alexander: piano.