Even though he is heard prominently throughout, James Silberstein's second recording as leader isn't a "guitar album" as such but more an ensemble piece, as it features on several tracks a number of first-class instrumentalists from the New York area, namely trumpeter Jim Rotondi, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, trombonist Steve Davis and flautist Anne Drummond.
Silberstein is showcased with his rhythm section (pianist Jill McCarron, bassist Harvie S, drummer Vince Cherico) on his own "Express Lane," adding percussionist Daniel Sadownick on the standards "You Don"t Know What Love Is" and "Skylark." McCarron sits out on Rodgers and Hart's "My Romance," and Silberstein plays unaccompanied on the last track, J.J. Johnson's "Lament."
Rotondi is present on the other half-dozen selections, Alexander on five, Davis and Drummond two each, while Kate McGarry adds a wordless vocal on "Shadows," which Silberstein co-wrote with Harvie S. Besides arranging every track, the bassist also composed "A Simple Thank You." Completing the wide-ranging program are Cole Porter's "From This Moment On," Mercer / Arlen's "Come Rain or Come Shine," Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark" (played as a bossa), Silberstein's "Glass Garden" and fellow guitarist Jack Wilkins' "Kiwi Bird."
Silberstein, a fixture on the New York scene for about twenty-five years, has studied with Chuck Wayne and Barry Galbraith, among others, and performed with a who's who of luminaries from Zoot Sims and Bucky Pizzarelli to Norah Jones and The Drifters. He is an engaging soloist whose athletic single-note runs channel role-models Wes Montgomery, Tal Farlow, George Benson, Pat Martino, Joe Pass and others. Rotondi, who has some of his best "moments" on the Porter standard, is similarly eloquent on "Glass Garden," while Alexander delivers typically persuasive solos on "From This Moment" and "Shadows," and Davis appends a groovy statement on "Come Rain or Come Shine."
Silberstein leaps from the starting gate with "From This Moment On" and keeps things lively and interesting by varying tempos and personnel. Those who appreciate a supple guitar but admire other instruments as well should find much that is likable in this Express Lane.
From This Moment On; Kiwi Bird; You Don't Know What Love Is; Come Rain or Shine; Shadows; Express Lane; A Simple Thank You; Glass Garden; My Romance; Skylark; Lament.
James Silberstein: electic guitar; Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone (1, 4, 5, 7, 8); Jim Rotondi: trumpet, flugelhorn (1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8); Steve Davis: trombone (1, 4); Harvie S: bass; Jill McCarron: piano (1-8, 10); Vince Cherico: drums (1-10); Daniel Sadownick: percussions (3, 5, 7, 8, 10); Anne Drummond: flute (2, 5); Kate McGarry: vocals (5).
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