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One extra stringfrom six to sevendoes 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 "trio of equals" description of a band sound is more often applied to the piano trio, but it's just as apt with this unit. The Herberman tunes here have a lot of room for improvisation, for acting and reacting to each others ideas and interjections in surprising ways within the frameworks of Herberman's tunes.
These are pretty sounds with a satisfying depth that bring some of the guitar legendsJoe Pass and Jim Hallto mind, music that is airy yet rich, sometimes swinging ("Cos Groove"), sometimes pensive ("Nearly Time"), or delicately, succinctly understated ("Snap!").
Achieving a fresh and distintive voice with guitar trio is no easy task, but Steve Herberman, with Drew Gress and Mark Ferber, has done just that with the vibrant sounds on Action:Reaction.