All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

209

Esteban: Best of Esteban

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Born near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Stephen Paul apprenticed in Spain for four years under Andres Segovia, who bequeathed upon this protégé the professional name Esteban. Esteban's first new release since 2003 is not a convenient repackaging of previously recorded music; he recorded new versions of favorites from his repertoire, from Spanish dances to familiar ABBA and Beatles songs, instead.

On its surface, some of this might sound too comfortable and genteel. There's no denying the quality of Esteban's musicianship, but "Here Comes the Sun tries so hard to sound cheerful and bright that it's almost depressing, and he turns "Fernando into a ballad so soft that it sounds more like Muzak than music.

His march through Del Shannon's prototypical rocker "Runaway energetically kicks out the jams, at least, and other tracks prove even more rewarding. His strumming and chording hands seem complete blurs in the showstopper "Fuego Malagueña, an update that burns through one of his most famous originals ("Malagueña ), at its climax pure carnival magic. "Alicante rips up the joint in a more traditional Latin jazz style, including a vibrant percussion and piano break. "Mediterana captures a very different mood: His Middle Eastern guitar sound intertwines with flute, jointly intersecting Indian and Arabic music, each note gyrating against an aggressive rhythm that pounds it right back into the incandescent melody.

"Only Love, his only solo piece, is full of empty space and a longing for beauty so profound that it hurts.

Even though his razor-sharp, impeccably timed guitar runs almost dare your ears to keep pace, Esteban doesn't project the enormous ego of other singer/songwriter/ guitarists who go by a single name (or symbol). He quite often, and quite comfortably, shares the spotlight with other soloists on these new recordings. The violin (played by his daughter, Theresa Paul) dances within the soft caress of his acoustic guitar, lost in the romance of "Besame Mucho. Trumpet players Jessee McGuire and Benjamin Paul (relation unknown) blaze to blister like Icarus the soundscapes of "Fuego Malagueña and "Alicante.


Track Listing: Besame Mucho Interlude; Besame Mucho; Fuego Malaguena; Alicante; Porto Alegre Interlude; Porto Alegre; Here Comes the Sun; Mediterana; Fernando; Enter the Heart; Only Love; Runaway.

Personnel: Esteban: guitars; Teresa Paul: violin; Rodney Alejandro: keyboards, programming; Oskar Cartaya: bass; Paul Gonzalez: drums; Fausto Cuevas: percussion; Benjamin Paul: trumpet; Jessee McGuire: trumpet; Robert Brock: keyboards; Joe Morris: drums, percussion; Gary Gillespie: bass; Jerry Donato: flute.

Title: Best of Esteban | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Esteban Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Best of Esteban

Best of Esteban

Esteban Music
2006

buy
 

Enter The Heart

OCI Records
2001

buy

Related Articles

Read Shades CD/LP/Track Review
Shades
by Doug Collette
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Putumayo Presents: Ska Around the World CD/LP/Track Review
Putumayo Presents: Ska Around the World
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Pattern Recognition CD/LP/Track Review
Pattern Recognition
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Just This CD/LP/Track Review
Just This
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Live at Sowieso CD/LP/Track Review
Live at Sowieso
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Displaced Diaspora CD/LP/Track Review
Displaced Diaspora
by Chris May
Published: October 19, 2018
Read "Uncompahgre" CD/LP/Track Review Uncompahgre
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 19, 2018
Read "Lifelike" CD/LP/Track Review Lifelike
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 22, 2018
Read "Outside the Soiree" CD/LP/Track Review Outside the Soiree
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 12, 2018
Read "Still Dreaming" CD/LP/Track Review Still Dreaming
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 24, 2018
Read "when the shade is stretched" CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read "Get Somethin'" CD/LP/Track Review Get Somethin'
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 17, 2018