187

Paul Meyers: Paul Meyers Quartet featuring Frank Wess

Jeff Dayton-Johnson By

Sign in to view read count
Paul Meyers: Paul Meyers Quartet featuring Frank Wess This is a very smooth outing from Paul Meyers, mixing standards—both the rather ripe ("I Cover The Waterfront") and the lesser-known (Billy Strayhorn's "Snibor")—with Meyers originals as showcases for his acoustic nylon string guitar. "Smooth" should not be taken to mean "smooth jazz": there is just the right amount of edge in the musicians' interaction to keep things interesting.

Meyers' style is almost casually virtuosic, reflecting the easy skill of a session veteran whose credits span a vast stylistic breadth. His soloing alternates single-note lines with chords and tonal clusters in a manner reminiscent, both musically and emotionally, of the great Brazilian guitarists to whom Meyers has pledged his allegiance, among them Bola Sete, Toninho Horta—whose violão playing Meyers credits as an influence for his own nylon- string guitar style.

Meyers made the excellent decision to invite Frank Wess to share front-man duties on most cuts. Wess is best known for his flute playing—the instrument for which he was a frequent Down Beat poll winner during the heyday of his tenure with the Count Basie orchestra in the early 1960s—and his playing is heard to particularly good effect on Meyers' original, "Blue Lantern."

But the most interesting moments on the record arise when Wess switches to tenor saxophone, on which he's a fine, Coleman Hawkins-inspired player. Wess' solos are not just well-constructed in terms of notes on the printed page, but full of dynamic and timbral effects—breathy, garrulous, vocal. These features contrast nicely with the crystalline brightness of Meyer's nylon string playing. These pleasing contrasts are particularly evident on the up-tempo "Just One of Those Things." "Menage à Bleu," meanwhile, is—fittingly—a fairly down-and-dirty blues performance, well-suited to Wess' saxophone, but not at first blush to the classically oriented nylon string guitar. Meyers, nevertheless, pulls off a convincing blues solo.

An unexpected bonus that rounds out the set nicely: Meyers's sometimes boss, vocalist Andy Bey, sits in for a laidback "Lazy Afternoon." Meyers reengineers the song's rhythm around a Northeastern Brazilian basis, spurring him to his most nuanced playing on the record. In the meantime, Bey sounds ever more basso with the passing years, leaving his more raucous R&B style ever further in the past.

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


Shop

More Articles

Read Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell CD/LP/Track Review Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Oaktree CD/LP/Track Review Oaktree
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Green With Envy CD/LP/Track Review Green With Envy
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Luma CD/LP/Track Review Luma
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 28, 2017
Read My Foolish Heart CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Ha Noi Duo CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Otterville" CD/LP/Track Review Otterville
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 11, 2016
Read "Trio Miami" CD/LP/Track Review Trio Miami
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 8, 2016
Read "Welcome Back" CD/LP/Track Review Welcome Back
by John Sharpe
Published: March 28, 2016
Read "Some Other Time" CD/LP/Track Review Some Other Time
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2016
Read "Near Life Experience" CD/LP/Track Review Near Life Experience
by John Kelman
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "Ashé" CD/LP/Track Review Ashé
by James Nadal
Published: July 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!