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 The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Seaside" CD/LP/Track Review Seaside
by John Eyles
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "Suite Ellington" CD/LP/Track Review Suite Ellington
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 28, 2016
Read "Tales From A Forbidden Land" CD/LP/Track Review Tales From A Forbidden Land
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 1, 2017
Read "Because I Love You" CD/LP/Track Review Because I Love You
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "Wolf Valley" CD/LP/Track Review Wolf Valley
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 18, 2016
Read "Songs Of Bacharach And Manzanero" CD/LP/Track Review Songs Of Bacharach And Manzanero
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!