Jake Hertzog is a guitarist who crosses the threshold into the jazz and jazz-fusion radar with the advent of this impressive 2009 studio set. Hertzog is a Berklee College of Music graduate and, at nineteen years-old, won the 2006 Montreux Jazz Festival's Grand Prize in the Jazz Guitar Competition. He communicates a broad music vernacular here, within a comfort zone provided by the superfine rhythm section that includes pianist Michael Wolff on three pieces.
Among the anticipated methodologies, Hertzog puts the effects pedal to the metal in certain spots, where he merges sustain-based licks with variable slants atop pulsating rhythms and various shifts in strategy. The guitarist often pursues tension-building statements atop Harvie S' booming bass lines, among the ensemble's unanticipated u-turns and knotty time signatures. Hertzog is a cunning improviser who abides by a driving impetus, heard on brisk bop vamps and upbeat jazz-rock grooves.
The band moderates the up-tempo flows with the touching ballad "Lullaby For A Dreamer," featuring Wolff's perky voicings and the leader's reverse engineering processes. Then the pianist ups the ante via an exploratory extended solo on the mid-tempo "Nectarine." And while Hertzog doesn't reinvent the wheel amid a few works that lack memorable themes, he brings laudable chops and a buoyant musical gait to the forefront. It would seem that the best is yet to come from this mega-talented guitarist.
Track Listing: California Hills; Almost Like being in Love; Bonding; Back; Lullaby for a dreamer; In Your Own Sweet Way; Monkey Stuff; Nectarine; Falling in Love With Love; Oberon.
Personnel: Jake Hertzog: guitar; Harvie S: acoustic bass, electric bass; Victor Jones: drums; Michael Wolff: piano (2, 4, 6).