Home » Jazz Articles » Nathan Borton: Each Step


Album Review

Nathan Borton: Each Step


Sign in to view read count
Nathan Borton: Each Step
Judging from recent album releases, the guitar remains an essential part of the contemporary jazz scene. The latest example among many is this tasteful session led by Kansas-born, Michigan-based Nathan Borton, adding his name to an ample roster of newly minted guitar-led or guitar-centered albums by Doug MacDonald, Graham Dechter, Kristian Borring, Randy Napoleon, John Moulder, Hendrik Braeckman, Paul Bollenback, Matt Dingledine and others. What does Borton have that they may not? When it comes to technique and perception—that is, actually playing guitar and conveying to the listener one's concepts and vision—that's hard to say, as every one of them is resourceful and articulate.

What Borton does have is a penchant for variety (he moves from trio to quartet, quintet and even sextet on two selections), a keen ear for melody, and a clean, no-nonsense way of swinging that is at least on a par with any of the above mentioned artists, perhaps in part because of his musical inspirations who include Wes Montgomery and Grant Green. Borton also has an enviable supporting cast that includes pianist Xavier Davis, bassist Rodney Whitaker and drummer Keith Hall, with tenor saxophonist Diego Rivera sitting in on three numbers, bass trombonist Chris Glassman on two.

Borton opens with a pair of themes by the quartet, his own "Each Step" and Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things," narrowing to a trio on the lovely Mack Gordon/Harry Warren ballad, "The More I See You." Rivera comes aboard for Joseph Herbst's offbeat arrangement of Miles Davis' "Milestones" (at least that's what it says on the playlist), which precedes Borton's "What Now?" and Napoleon's "These Are the Things We Throw Away." Curiously, "What Now?" calls to mind the standard "Fascination," "These Are the Things" yet another, "I'm in the Mood for Love." The sextet performs on Borton's easygoing "Change," the quartet on the last two numbers, Green's boppish "Grantstand" and Borton's blues-drenched salute to Green, "Grant's Groove," on which Davis moves smoothly to electric keyboard.

Borton's quartet is exemplary, Rivera adds splashes of warmth, and the choice of material is superb. There's not much to find fault with on a date as burnished and well-drawn as this.

Track Listing

Each Step; Just One of Those Things; The More I See You; Milestones; What Now?; These Are the Things We Throw Away; Change; Grantstand; Grant's Groove.


Nathan Borton: guitar; Xavier Davis: piano; Rodney Whitaker: bass; Keith Hall: drums; Diego Rivera: saxophone; Chris Glassman: trombone.

Album information

Title: Each Step | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: OA2 Records

Post a comment about this album

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Beyond Orbits
Miho Hazama's M_Unit
Paul Dietrich
Dear Zbigniew
Greg Byers


Double Portrait
Giuseppe Millaci and the Vogue Trio
Afro Futuristic Dreams
Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
Dynamic Maximum Tension
Darcy James Argue's Secret Society

On the record

Vibes on a Breath
Ted Piltzecker
Jonathan Karrant
Brazilian Match
Luiz Millan
Double Portrait
Giuseppe Millaci and the Vogue Trio

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.