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Jim Snidero: Interface

Dan Bilawsky By

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The digital age has completely changed the way language is used. People talk about "googling" things, discovering new "apps," and "friending people" all the time, so it wouldn't be surprising if the word "interface" eventually replaces "communication" in common, everyday conversations. Interfacing can essentially be viewed as a modern day synonym for communication, and that, after all, is one of the cornerstones of jazz. Saxophonist Jim Snidero knows this all too well. With an impressive résumé as a sideman, decades of performing experience under his belt, fifteen prior leader dates which showcase his talent, and a reputation as one of the biggest names in jazz education, thanks to his Jazz Conception books, Snidero has shown that communication—with listeners and other musicians—is key to success.

Interface is a logical successor to Crossfire (Savant, 2009), which found the saxophonist utilizing guitar in place of piano, but it isn't more of the same thing. Paul Bollenbacks use of acoustic guitar on a number of tracks, the impressive drumming from newcomer McClenty Hunter, and the decision to make this an all-original date, help to make this album stand apart from Snidero's prior record.

Three-quarters of the Crossfire band is on board here, with rock-solid bassist Paul Gill filling out the roster, and this band of musical brothers is in sync every step of the way. Gill anchors the band through a variety of settings and, on the rare occasion that he solos ("Expectations"), he manages to perfectly capture the mood of the music. Bollenback's playing is almost beyond words, and he comes at each song in a different way. He delves into bluesy soul soloing that would make Grant Green proud ("After The Pain"), strikes at the heart of the music with power and aggression ("Fall Out"), and astonishes with his stellar technique ("Viper").

While Bollenback and Snidero each have own unique voices on their respective instruments, both players have a shared trait in their playing, which speaks of sincerity and honesty, regardless of the setting. Snidero might make powerful calls to the wild at one moment ("Viper") and naked, intimate gestures at another ("One By One"), but it all comes across with clarity and sense of purpose.

Hunter hasn't been part of Snidero's world for as long as the other players, but he makes his mark on this album. He always finds a way to get to the core of each piece, whether the music calls for easy swing ("Expectations"), virtual nothingness that's felt more than heard ("One By One"), or something a bit more potent ("Fall Out" and "Viper").

These eight Snidero originals make it abundantly clear that these four men can interface with the best of them.

Track Listing: Interface; Silhouette; Fall Out; One By One; Aperitivo; Viper; After the Pain; Expectations.

Personnel: Jim Snidero: alto saxophone; Paul Bollenback: guitar; Paul Gill: bass; McClenty Hunter: drums.

Title: Interface | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Savant Records

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