A deeply satisfying solo effort that recalls the true meaning of jazz guitar. New Yorker Jeffrey Burr has bravely concocted an EP of solo archtop-guitar music that comes close in spirit and accomplishment to the solo works of Joe Pass, Al Viola and other past masters. With so many young jazz-minded guitarists these days trying to emulate the electrified power of John Scofield and Pat Metheny, it's refreshing to find someone with a heartfelt appreciation for the traditions of pre-fusion jazz guitar. Burr ably reflects the joy and melancholy of the hollowbody era here, with a piano-influenced technique that's largely his own.
Burr interprets two of his own compositions and three true jazz classics on this disc. "Witchcraft" and "Moonlight in Vermont" are certifiable chestnuts of American music, but it's still fun to hear them revisited with such love and vitality as Burr does here. Without a rhythm section elbowing him in one direction or another, the guitarist is free to concentrate relaxedly on the meat and heart of the tunes. Burr's handling of chords is particularly inviting; he inserts them much as a pianist's left hand would amidst the right-hand melody lines. The resulting drive is more than sufficient to keep each selection aloft.
"I Fall In Love Too Easily" begins with a confident single-note line, the chords peeking through bit by bit until they become fully part of the equation. Burr's own "Myoko" is languid and reflective, perhaps a sound portrait of a loved one. "The Logician" is jauntier but still contemplative, the bass notes booting things gently along.
If you're looking for the next McLaughlin or Vai, Jeffrey Burr is assuredly not for you. But if you're seeking an artist who understands what the title "jazz guitarist" is really all about, Burr's disc is highly recommended. It's letter-perfect for relaxing with a glass of tea on a warm afternoon. May we hear much more from him in the near future.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.