A classically trained violinist who spent time as a bluegrass and country musician in Nashville and currently earns a living in New York backing up pop stars like Sinead O'Connor and Moby, Antoine Silverman has certainly made his mark outside the jazz world. But for an artist with such an eclectic resume, Blue Moods
, Silverman's second release as a leader on Hillsboro Jazz, is a surprisingly straight-ahead jazz effort, though one with the potential for mainstream appeal.
Silverman's musical vision is very much in the swing violin tradition popularized by Stephane Grappelli, and his light, deft touch on his instrument also, perhaps inevitably, recalls the great French master. The set list harkens back to the swing era as well, featuring chestnuts from the songbooks of Duke Ellington, Rodgers and Hart, and Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen, along with a couple of forays into bop and post-bop courtesy of Horace Silver and Duke Jordan.
As the album title suggests, the mood here is a blue one, and Silverman and his band of Nashville-based musicians prove themselves adept blues and ballad players, mining the emotional depths of familiar tunes like "In a Sentimental Mood," "You've Changed," and "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered." But Silverman can also cut loose with exciting results when given the chance, as on his own "Bee's Bounce," one of his three original compositions on Blue Moods.
There's not much here that's new or ground-breaking, but for an album of well-played bluesy swing, it's hard not to like this album. In the future it might be nice to hear Silverman stretch out a little more or even add something from his country/bluegrass repertoire to the mix, a la guitarist Bill Frisell.