231

JC Stylles: Exhilaration And Other States

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
The photos that adorn the cover and back panel of guitarist JC Stylles Exhilaration And Other States make Stylles look like a cross between a '50s rockabilly musician and a Brian Setzer wannabe, but his music has nothing to do with either one. The Australian-born and New York-based guitarist deals in burning organ trio swing, with a few ballads and some other seasonings thrown in for good measure, as he tackles standards and a few surprises from outside the jazz canon.

Both Stylles' biography and his music betray a fondness for George Benson's playing, but not the Benson that sets off fusion fireworks or deals in smooth grooves. Stylles' style usually veers closer to the Benson that took the baton from Wes Montgomery and ran with it.

While Stylles is clearly the star of this show, his trio mates are superb supporting players that help to drive this music along. Organist Pat Bianchi brings his bright and cutting sound to bear on a large number of these pieces, but he also proves to be a sensitive accompanist, capable of dialing things down when the music calls for it ("Don't Explain"). His solos on the livelier material can be exciting and unpredictable, as demonstrated with some sprays of notes on "Tune For Roger," or straightforward in a pleasing manner. As per most organ group recordings, the drummer—Lawrence Leathers—gets little space to solo, but Leathers' swinging drumming is the heartbeat of this music.

Stylles' choice of repertoire is as eclectic as can be, covering everybody from Cole Porter and Billie Holiday to Stevie Wonder and R. Kelly, but he manages to find a common thread in most of the material. He lights up the faster numbers with his articulate single note lines and his solo trading with Bianchi, and he takes complete control on the ballads, which can be haunting ("Don't Explain") or heavenly ("I Want To Talk About You"). Stylles isn't afraid to detour into slick, R&B territory (R. Kelly's "It Seems Like You're Ready"), but the guitarist sounds best on material that moves at a sprinter's pace, as demonstrated by his searing solo work on Wayne Shorter's "Pinnochio."

While the music on Exhilaration And Other States may cover a wide range of emotions, it seems like everything that Stylles' delivers is capable of evoking a state of euphoria.

Track Listing: Knucklebean; I Can't Help It; I Want To Talk About You; Love For Sale; Don't Explain; Tune For Roger; Pinnochio; It Seems Like You're Ready; Samba Steps.

Personnel: JC Stylles: guitar; Pat Bianchi: organ; Lawrence Leathers: drums.

Title: Exhilaration And Other States | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Motema Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Moment Frozen CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Minor Step CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read A Meeting Of Spirits CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read First Light CD/LP/Track Review First Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Strykin’ Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Strykin’ Ahead
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 13, 2017
Read "Just Get In" CD/LP/Track Review Just Get In
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Varanda" CD/LP/Track Review Varanda
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Looking Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Looking Forward
by Geannine Reid
Published: September 6, 2017
Read "Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Vol. 1
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "In Hollywood, 1971" CD/LP/Track Review In Hollywood, 1971
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 18, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.