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Paul Meyers: Paul Meyers Quartet featuring Frank Wess

Bruce Lindsay By

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Paul Meyers: Paul Meyers Quartet featuring Frank Wess Guitarist Paul Meyers' stated intention with Paul Meyers Quartet featuring Frank Wess was to create "a relaxed, straight-ahead jazz CD," and with the assistance of some delightful sax and flute from NEA Jazz Master Frank Wess he has succeeded admirably. The mix of standards and originals is thoughtfully put together and the end result is a feel-good and sophisticated album (which was originally released on Meyers' own PCM label in 2008).

This is a rich, accessible recording. The production, by Meyers, ensures that the sound is clear and crisp, giving a remarkable clarity to the instruments, especially Meyers' guitar and Wess' tenor sax. Wess' tenor solo on the Meyers original, "One for Miss D," is an excellent example—the solo stays close to the melody line but there is variation and inventiveness in it as well, and the production gives Wess' tone added warmth.

Andy Bey adds atmospheric vocals to John Latouche's and Jerome Moross' "Lazy Afternoon," one of the album's finest tracks. Meyers worked with Bey for 10 years and their close musical relationship comes across in this performance. Bassist Martin Wind and drummer Tony Jefferson provide a loose and relaxed rhythm, while Meyers punctuates his fluid guitar lines with sparse but effective use of harmonics. Bey's vocal sounds absolutely effortless, evoking the lazy afternoon of the title in masterly fashion.

"Menage a Bleu" is Wess' own composition—a slow blues in waltz time with the tenor sax given a harder edge than on most of the album. Again, this is an evocative tune—but this time it's evoking late night, funky jam sessions.

Paul Meyers Quartet featuring Frank Wess covers familiar territory, but it does so with quality, warmth and musical talent, and Meyers' arrangements ensure that the entire band swings from beginning to end. Amazingly, given how tight the musicians sound, this quartet had never played as a group before making the recording—who knows what it may be capable of once the musicians get to know each other better.

Track Listing: Snibor; Blue Lantern; In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning; One for Miss D; Lazy Afternoon; Menage a Bleu; Just One of Those Things; My One and Only Love; Who Cares?; I Cover the Waterfront.

Personnel: Paul Meyers: acoustic nylon string guitar; Frank Wess: flute, tenor saxophone; Martin Wind: acoustic bass; Tony Jefferson: drums; Andy Bey: vocals (5).

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Miles High Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream

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