Guitarist Rick Stone strums into Samba de Novembro 's opener, the title tune, with a clear, crisp, precise sound, joined twenty seconds later by Tardo Hamer's succinct and delicate piano noteslike raindrops into a pond. Up-tempo, fluid, an enticing South American mood. The guitar and pianotangy versus sweetbounce off each other nicely; and Matt Wilson, who seems to be sitting in the drummer's seat on everyone's sets these days, weaves subtle and sinuous textures behind it all. An auspicious opening for a straight through marvelous disc.
Rodgers and Hart's "My Romance" has Stone going trio, showcasing his deft hand at playing a classic, faithfully, with an easy swing to the sound. "Rainforest," another Stone original, slows the pace; and the guitarist brings the legendary Wes Montgomery to mind here, as Matt Wilson wields his cymbal splashes behind the guitarist's clean lines.
And so it goes, solo, duo, trio and quartet modes alternating, with five originals and a some nicely chosen classicsThelonious Monk's "Played Twice" and Bill Evans' "Song for Helen" stand out for this ear. Stone's ringing sound and sharp notes fit right into Monk's oddly beautiful logic on the former; and on the lattera solo effortStone gets inside the melody with a wistful affection.
On "West Side Waltz," penned by the set's bassist, Yosuke Inoue, listen to the buoyant lift the bass and drums give to the wandering melody.
A first rate jazz guitar effort.
Track Listing: Samba de Novembro; My Romance; Rain Forest; Duck, Duck Blues; Autumn in Three; Careless Love; Song for Helen; Played Twice; I Can't Get Started; West Side Waltz; Blues Enough; In Loving Memory
Personnel: Rick Stone (guitar), Tardo Hammer (piano), Yosuke Inoue (bass), Matt Wilson (drums)
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