187

Paul Meyers: Paul Meyers Quartet featuring Frank Wess

Jeff Dayton-Johnson By

Sign in to view read count
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; Ménage à 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: tenor saxophone, flute; Martin Wind: acoustic bass; Tony Jefferson: drums; Andy Bey: vocal (5).

Title: Paul Meyers Quartet Featuring Frank Wess | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Miles High Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Forage" CD/LP/Track Review Forage
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Beatrice" CD/LP/Track Review Beatrice
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 13, 2017
Read "My Love" CD/LP/Track Review My Love
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 28, 2017
Read "Ella Lives" CD/LP/Track Review Ella Lives
by Chris Mosey
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "Planets + Persona" CD/LP/Track Review Planets + Persona
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Bright Yellow with Bass" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 18, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.