Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

118

Lenny Solomon: Transparency

Peter Aaron By

Sign in to view read count
Lenny Solomon: Transparency Transparency, Toronto violinist Lenny Solomon's first disc as a leader since 1995's The Gershwin Sessions, finds him helming the sextet of bassist Pat Collins, pianist Phil Dwyer, cellist Wendy Solomon, and the frequently paired Geoff Young and Barry Romberg on guitar and drums, respectively. The champagne-sparkle production of this standards-heavy set fits its title like a silver glove—an attribute that should win Solomon much commercial airplay, if not abroad then at least in his homeland.

But while such pristine sound largely does justice to the beauty of Solomon's technique, its application to the rest of the band often approaches the antiseptic. On tracks like the sweet and playful reading of "Oh Susannah" and Young's "Leila's Waltz," one wishes there had been more of a live, "room" sound, rather than such tricked-up, radio-pandering gloss. (Reverb-heavy "rock" drums, anyone?)

Yet sometimes this album's immaculate ambience works rather well, particularly on the title track, a moody romp that features Young's fine Wes Montgomery/Grant Green-esque fretwork and Dwyer's twinkling, Oscar Peterson-style runs. Betraying Solomon's debt to the great Joe Venuti, the CD contains two compositions by the violin innovator, "Wild Dog" and "Black Satin," along with three tunes identified with Venuti and his era: "I Got Rhythm," "Sweet Georgia Brown," and Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness of You." All are superb, but "Wild Dog," which begins with a propulsive duet between Solomon and Dwyer, is perhaps Tranparency 's finest moment: after the two chase each other around like a caffeinated Tom and Jerry, Collins lays down a tough, walking line; Young then checks in with some cool blues before Solomon takes a poignant solo break and—flash!—they're off again at breakneck tempo (insert cloud of dust here). Anyone who thinks there's no life left in the classics should hear this.

While Solomon's approach isn't on the cutting edge of violinists like, say, Billy Bang or Leroy Jenkins, he clearly doesn't feel the need to compete in the modern jazz realm. Instead, he chooses to focus his awe-inspiring technique on the traditional repertoire, bringing his art to the masses instead of the already informed. And if smooth jazz radio were to pick up on this record, it would only be a much-needed improvement. But as impressive a chops session as Transparency is, one can't help but feel a raw album recorded live in a small club would really bring out the best in Solomon's music.


Track Listing: 1. Oh Susannah; 2. Leila's Waltz; 3. Hoe Down; 4. Transparency; 5. Don't Tell Me What To Do? 6. The Reel Thing; 7. Sweet Georgia Brown; 8. Black Satin; 9. Calgary Stampede; 10. Wild Dog; 11. I Got Rhythm; 12. The Nearness of You; 13. Paganini Blues.

Personnel: Lenny Solomon, violin; Pat Collins, bass; Geoff Young, guitar; Phil Dwyer, piano; Barry Romberg, drums; Wendy Solomon, cello.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Umbrella Weather CD/LP/Track Review Umbrella Weather
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 24, 2017
Read Born In An Urban Ruin CD/LP/Track Review Born In An Urban Ruin
by John Sharpe
Published: January 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 24, 2017
Read Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs) CD/LP/Track Review Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs)
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 24, 2017
Read #knowingishalfthebattle CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Live In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Peace
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "Till They Lay Me Down" CD/LP/Track Review Till They Lay Me Down
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 5, 2016
Read "Life and Other Transient Storms" CD/LP/Track Review Life and Other Transient Storms
by John Sharpe
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "Early Wayne: Explorations of Classic Wayne Shorter Compositions" CD/LP/Track Review Early Wayne: Explorations of Classic Wayne Shorter Compositions
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 26, 2016
Read "Here’s to You..." CD/LP/Track Review Here’s to You...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: November 9, 2016
Read "D-Stringz" CD/LP/Track Review D-Stringz
by James Nadal
Published: February 25, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!