Here’s an album that definitely lives up to its name, as guitarist John Stein and his colleagues paint a series of exquisite “pictures in sound,” all but one of which were written by Stein himself. The exception is the standard “Moonlight in Vermont,” given a pleasurable ride by Stein’s working trio (bassist Keala Kaumeheiwa, drummer Greg Conroy) and guest pianist Larry Goldings. Stein keeps the music fresh and beguiling by altering form and tempo, using samba, bossa, hard bop, soul Jazz, odd meter and even a boogaloo to underline his purpose. He also varies the size and texture of the group, adding Bill Thompson’s alto on “Be Ooo Ba,” his tenor on “Mister Dave,” his flute on “Sarlat” and “Rio Con Brio,” moving Goldings to Hammond B3 on “Sammy” and employing the trio alone on “Ben J Man.” Stein’s compositions are clear, even–tempered, mellow and invariably persuasive, rather like his playing. He charts an agreeable course on the swaying “Samba Nights” and keeps a firm hand on the rudder until the voyage ends. Goldings, Thompson and Kaumeheiwa are given ample blowing space, which they use to great advantage, while the rhythm section (impelled by Conroy’s resourceful timekeeping) is always on top of its game. There are times, as on “Moonlight in Vermont,” “Be Ooo Ba” or the lovely “Sarlat,” when one is reminded, if only briefly, of such smooth early–bop guitarists as Jimmy Raney, Johnny Smith, Chuck Wayne, Jim Hall and Billy Bauer. Stein, however, doesn’t remain long in one groove, turning up the heat on “Mister Dave” with some crisp and bluesy fretwork, aiming explicitly southward on the swaying bossa “Madelyn,” shadowing Goldings stride for boppish stride on “Sammy” and galloping gracefully through “Rio Con Brio” and “Ben J Man” before further loosening the reins on “Switch–a–Roo.” A tasty soufflé, well–done but not overcooked.
Contact:Jardis Records, D–66583 Spiesen–Elversberg, Schubertstrasse 12, Germany. Web site, www.jardis.de
Samba Nights, Moonlight in Vermont, Be Ooo Ba, Sarlat, Mister Dave, Madelyn, Sammy, Rio Con Brio, Ben J Man, Switch-a-Roo
John Stein (guitar), Larry Goldings (piano & organ), Bill Thompson (flute, alto & tenor saxophone), Keala Kaumeheiwa (bass), Greg Conroy (drums)
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.