Jeffrey Burr's 2000 debut disc By Myself , a veritable masterpiece of solo jazz guitar, boldly declared the presence of a bright new voice. He has continued the excellence in trio format on Bright Blue , which stands as one of the finest mainstream guitar albums of the past couple of years. Burr's resumé includes jobs with Dizzy Gillespie and Norah Jones, and he stands poised to become one of America's top voices on the archtop. And if you think that's hyperbole, you haven't heard the man.
More harmonically adventurous than Jim Hall, yet with a similar measure of technical virtuosity, Burr is also a notable composer. Two of these tunes, "Myoko" and "The Logician", were previously interpreted on By Myself. While Burr carefully caressed every nuance and flourish on his first disc, as fleshed out by the present trio the tunes take on an entirely different luster. On pieces like "Wayne's Refrain" and the title track, his well-miked tone practically sends sparkles from the speakers. Ari Hoenig, John Hebert and (on the central three tracks) Steve Doyle offer up letter-perfect support, letting the leader navigate as he sees fit.
Burr nods to Hollywood by tackling John Williams' "Han Solo and the Princess", from Star Wars , and "Somewhere Out There". But these are not the usual tired movie-score rehashes; rather Burr and friends polish them up and present them as delectable new offerings. His interpretation of "Somewhere" is almost painfully poignant, worlds beyond the film's own sentimentality. Renditions of Thelonious Monk's "Locomotive" bookend the other material, showing that Burr knows his bebop as well as anything else. Relaxing, impressively musical, simply outstanding.
Track Listing: Locomotive (part I); Wayne's Refrain; Legal Eyes; Myoko; Poem; Say Say O Playmate; Somewhere Out There; Bright Blue; ZombieCavemanRobot; Indestructo!; The Logician; Han Solo & The Princess; Locomotive (part II).
Personnel: Jeffrey Burr, guitar; John Hebert (1-5, 9-13), Steve Doyle (6-8), bass; Ari Hoenig, drums.