13

John Stein: Serendipity

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
John Stein: Serendipity
Guitarist John Stein's Massachusetts-based trio strides in with charm and confidence on Serendipity, a frame of mind that prevails throughout an album whose name was inspired by a concert-that-wasn't but eventually was, thanks to live-streaming, during a massive and deadly global pandemic. That concert, planned for an outdoor venue in New Bedford, was derailed by Covid-19 but later moved indoors to the city's Art Museum, where the trio performed for an audience of one, sound engineer John Farrell, who taped and edited the video. Listening to the concert at home, while doing chores, Stein became aware that the soundtrack alone would be worth releasing, and Neal Weiss at Whaling City Sound agreed.

Whether they made the right decision is for the listener to decide. Here is one emphatic "aye" vote, based largely on the trio's consummate artistry and the fraternal rapport between Stein, bass guitarist Ed Lucie and drummer Mike Connors. Stein's clean, articulate single-note lines are admirably complemented by Lucie's lower-register discourses and Connors' crisp and versatile timekeeping. And when Stein takes a chordal approach, his bandmates are there to cover his back and keep the balance at a high level. Lucie lends the session an indispensable lower voice, while Connors is sharp and resourceful with brushes or sticks—and they are splendid soloists to boot.

The trio's astute choice of material certainly does not harm the cause, starting with Sonny Rollins' well-grooved "Alfie's Theme" and including a trio of shapely standards, "On Green Dolphin Street," "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" and "East of the Sun." Also on the menu are original compositions by Thelonious Monk ("Well, You Needn't"), Antonio Carlos Jobim ("Insensatez") and four charmers by Stein ("Labor of Love," "Bing Bang Boom!," "Elvin!" and "Happy Hour"). As trio sessions go, Serendipity earns high marks in every quarter, from group dynamics to individual artistry. Kudos as well to John Farrell for the superb sonics.

Track Listing

Alfie’s Theme; On Green Dolphin Street; Well, You Needn’t; Labor of Love; Insensatez (How Insensitive; Bing Bang Boom!; Elvin!; The Night Has a Thousand Eyes; East of the Sun and West of the Moon; Happy Hour

Personnel

John Stein: guitar; Ed Lucie; Mike Connors: drums.

Album information

Title: Serendipity | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Whaling City Sound

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Blessings and Blues
Neil Gonsalves Trio
Socially Distanced Duos
Jeff Pearring/Pearring Sound
Reels
Matthew Shipp / Whit Dickey
Dreamsing
Rachel Musson
Invisible Words
Falkner Evans
Soundscapes
Bob Mintzer & WDR Big Band Cologne
Another Land
Dave Holland

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings 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 step that will help musicians and venues 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 sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.