Back in April of 2000, guitarist Henry Robinett convened a quartet in The Hangar, a Sacramento studio where he had been working as an engineer and producer. An intentionally casual session, it was all standards all the way. Over the course of two days, tracks were called, solos and some other specifics were sorted out, and the music just flowed. When all was said and done, Robinett left and put the material on the shelf...where it sat for nearly two decades until curiosity finally got the better of him. Listening back to the material from a distance, and happy with the results, he finally decided to release it.
Jazz Standards, Volume 1: Then, not surprisingly, plays it straight. No insane reharmonizations or metric oddities, and no moves into the outer limits. These fourRobinett plus pianist Joe Gilman, bassist Chris Symer and drummer Michael Stephansjust swing and sing with their instruments. Opening on "I Hear A Rhapsody," things are bright as expected. Then the quartet dials it back a bit with "Yellow Days (La Mentira)," rides high with an enthusiastic take on "The Days of Wine and Roses" and a highly-caffeinated "The Way You Look Tonight," and deals in a more casual vibe with "Ill Wind." The second half of the album keeps the chestnuts coming with a down-the-middle "East of the Sun," fiery "Invitation," measured "Soul Eyes" and "Why Do I Love You?," and snappy "Pinocchio." All of it, not surprisingly, goes down easy.
While Robinett may have benefited from the variety that something like a waltz, bossa or pure ballad setting could've offered, and while the drums seem to be mixed a tad too high, these are minor gripes. The guitarist and his band mates clearly have a way with standards, and that shows. With more on the waya second set from the original sessions and two additional volumes worth of material delivered by the same band, reconvened in 2019the future looks bright for this project.
I Hear A Rhapsody; Yellow Days (La Mentira); The Days of Wine and Roses; The Way You Look Tonight; Ill
Wind; East of the Sun; Invitation; Soul Eyes; Why Do I Love You?; Pinocchio.
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.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
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.
African Jazz Beyond Jazz Big Band Blues Brazilian Classical Dixieland / New Orleans / Swing Electronica Free Improv / Avant-Garde Fringes of Jazz Funk / Groove Fusion / Progressive Rock Hot Jazz Jam Band Latin Lounge / Exotica Modern Jazz R&B / Soul Straight-ahead (Bop, Hard bop, Cool) Vocal