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Guitarists in Review: Lofsky, Scott, Rose and Bro

Jerome Wilson By

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Here are current releases by four accomplished guitarists who display their talents in varied contexts.

Lorne Lofsky
This Song Is New
Modica Music
2021

Lorne Lofsky is a highly respected Canadian guitarist. This is his first recording as a leader in over 25 years, a relaxed but energetic session with three other Canadian veterans, saxophonist Kirk MacDonald, bassist Kieran Overs and drummer Barry Romberg. Lofsky's fluid style is an important part of the session but he does not dominate every track. Often McDonald takes the lead, powering through the melody statements while the leader solidly comps, saving his energy for the solo spots. Lofsky's solos are consistently sharp and swinging and his rhythm chords just blossom. He shows what he can really do in his quicksilver sliding over bass and drums on "Live at the Apollo," a "Giant Steps" variation. On "Evans from Lennie," a tribute to the Lennie Tristano school of jazz, he races in unison with MacDonald's twisting lines like Lee Konitz chasing Warne Marsh. A bossa nova treatment of Benny Golson's "Stablemates" and slick ballad playing on "This Song Is New," a Lofsky original, show other sides of the leader's mastery.

Mike Scott
Collecting Things
Self Produced
2021

Mike Scott is a California guitarist who plays both electric and acoustic on a set of mostly original tunes here that sport both groove and nuance. He shows his electric prowess rumbling through the piano-driven charge of "Sol Minor" and flying over the brisk pace of "Boom Diddle It" in the company of pianist Joe Bagg, bassist Darek Oles and drummer Jake Reed. Other highlights include "Jack's Dilemma," a swampy blues where Scott lazily picks over drawling organ, the atmospheric acoustic balladry of "Dark Bossa," some nimble Brazilian licks on "Rondo" and an impressive folk-jazz hybrid in "49." Scott is a versatile player who can work in a bevy of different styles.

Dan Rose / Claudine Francois
New Leaves
Ride Symbol
2021

Guitarist Dan Rose's resume includes work with Paul Bley, Sonny Stitt, Thomas Chapin, John Abercrombie and many others. Here he does a series of duets with an old friend, French pianist Claudine Francois, that are informal and playful. Their work shows some of the simple charms of Carla Bley's and Steve Swallow's duet albums, in their lyrical blending on Rose's tunes, "The New Leaf" and "Yes I Do" as well as their paired surging on Swallow's own "Ladies in Mercedes" and their quiet grace on Carla Bley's "Lawns." Rose and Francois also have a bright romp through Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Dream" and bounce with purpose through Horace Silver's "Senor Blues." They complement each other well when Francois' florid runs on her own "Le Desert" are met with shimmering guitar chords while Rose's "Mr Slaint" is a fun little twirling dance for two. The fun this pair had recording this session radiates out of the music. .

Jakob Bro
Uma Elmo
ECM Records
2021

Jakob Bro has been a presence on the ECM label for some time, but on this album he debuts a new trio with trumpeter Arve Henriksen and drummer Jorge Rossy. In the past Bro has usually been the lead voice on his records, but this time he largely cedes that to Henriksen. The trumpeter's breathy, pale sounds are often at the center of the music while Bro surrounds him with delicate picking and Rossy contributes spare percussive color. Henriksen sketches out quiet, folklike melodies on tracks like "To Stanko" and "Morning Song" but others, like "Beautiful Day" and "Housework" are more abstract, with the trumpet pushing through woozy indeterminate sound-fields or Bro's guitar bending against what sounds like a buzzing saxophone. Bro and Henriksen combine mournful lead voices on "Music For Black Pigeons," a sighing lament dedicated to the memory of Lee Konitz, and on "Slaraffenland" the guitarist's quiet, glistening tones finally take the foreground with Henriksen's soft sound pulsing in answer. This is a quietly beautiful album that falls solidly into the more meditative traditions of ECM.

Tracks and Personnel

This Song Is New

Tracks: Seven Steps; The Time Being; Live from the Apollo; This Song is New; An Alterior Motif; Evans from Lennie; Stable Mates.

Personnel: Lorne Lofsky: guitar; Kirk MacDonald, saxophone; Kieran Overs: bass; Barry Romberg: drums.

Collecting Things

Tracks: Sol Minor Prelude; Sol Minor; Now and Later; Jack's Dilemma; Boom Diddle It; On A Clear Day; Dark Bossa; Rondo; Coda; 49.

Personnel: Mike Scott: guitar; Joe Bagg: piano, organ; Darek Oles: bass; Jake Reed: drums.

New Leaves

Tracks: The New Leaf; Monk's Dream; Ladies In Mercedes; Le Desert; Senor Blues; Lawns; Yes I Do; Mr. Slaint; The Seagulls of Kristiansund.

Personnel: Dan Rose: guitar; Claudine Francois: piano.

Uma Elmo

Tracks: Reconstructing A Dream; To Stanko; Beautiful Day; Morning Song; Housework; Music For Black Pigeons; Sound Flower; Slaraffenland; Morning Song (var.)

Personnel: Jakob Bro: guitar; Arve Henriksen: trumpet; Jorge Rossy: drums.

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