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Brad Myers & Michael Sharfe: Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs)

Roger Farbey By

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Cincinnati-based Brad Myers's follow-up recording to his 2015 quintet album "Prime Numbers" is essentially a duo record with his bassist colleague Michael Sharfe. The qualification "essentially" is deployed because there is additional percussion on most tracks but it's used as decorative augmentation rather than a vital rhythm unit.

The opener, "Sanguinaria (Hopefulsong)" is atypical of successive numbers, with Sharfe initially playing arco bass and Dan Karlsberg on melodica. Both this number and its successor "In From Somewhere" are guitarist Brad Myers originals as are "Norm's Ridge" and "Bentley's Blues." The majority of tracks however, are standards such as Keith Jarrett's "Country" and the closer, an upbeat version of Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way."

Myers displays dexterity throughout with influences such as Jim Hall and Pat Metheny apparent. Myers deftly inserts a quick quote from "When You Wish Upon A Star" at the beginning of Jim Hall's "Waltz New."

Michael Sharfe is a perfect foil to the guitarist; the two fluidly complementing each other's playing. They undoubtedly prove that they don't really need percussion to swing as evidenced on Gerry Mulligan's "Line For Lyons." When it is called for however, percussion is sparsely arranged, presumably so as not to overwhelm the duo, whose trademark is to play relatively quietly. So, for example, Steve Swallow's "Falling Grace" is afforded the lightest percussive touches here by Dan Dorff Jr. This is subtle and sensitive jazz by two master musicians.

Track Listing: Sanguinaria (Hopefulsong); In From Somewhere; Line For Lyons; Waltz New; New Moon; Norm’s Ridge; Country; Falling Grace; A Feeling Inspired By Maria; Bentley’s Blues; Great Pumpkin Waltz; In Your Own Sweet Way.

Personnel: Brad Myers: electric guitar, acoustic guitar; Michael Sharfe: double bass, electric bass, percussion; Dan Dorff Jr.: drums (tracks 2,6, & 8); Tom Buckley: drums (tracks 5,9, & 12); Mark Wolfley: percussion (tracks 9 & 11); Dan Karlsberg: melodic (track 1).

Title: Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs) | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Colloquy Records

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