Trail Magic: Trail MagicBy
The two leads set an appealing rustic flavor that's part upbeat rock and part quaint folk. Joel Newton alternates fast jazzy flights on the guitar with simple gentle-toned rhythm beds to give others room do the same; Christian Howes' dynamic violin goes full-throttle heavy in spots and keeps the yee-haw factor tastefully restrained in others. Here they're backed with an excellent pair of collaborators who add irresistibly frisky drumming and a dizzying range of electric keys. The pieces range across a refreshingly eclectic span of moods and everyone gets plenty of space to shine.
The whole quartet's interplay is as bright and smart as the leaders' compositions (the album is a jointly written affair, apart from an amped-up take on Paganini's "Caprice #24," and their voices mesh into a nicely coherent whole). Some are simple frameworks for coasting and trading fun solos, though the more successful moments lie in surprising juxtapositionsthe jazzy swing-infused country waltz that opens the disc, for instance, or the winding Allman-Brothers-Band-meets-James-Brown bounce of "Logjam." Catchy or peaceful, the tone is always a positive one throughoutin keeping with the Trail Magic name, this is a vibrant session all about the joy of serendipity and discovery.
Catalina; Gone Tubin; Song for Tony; Caprice #24; Out of the Blue; Logjam; Ceremony; Trane's Maiden; Bobby's Bad; Trail Magic; Casseopeia.
Christian Howes: violin; Joel Newton: guitar; Walter Fischbacher: keyboards; Aviv Cohen: drums.
Title: Trail Magic | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced