If you're a fan of mainstream jazz guitar, here's a gem of a small label recording that will be a continual delight. I'm talking about Two In The Pocket, a Steve Abshire and Vince Lewis collaboration from two now obscure jazz guitarists who will both be better known in the near future. This is a small label recording that has succeeded in doing it right, from the performance to the sound quality to the packaging. The headliners, Abshire and Lewis, have split the CD between guitar duet performances and tracks with various backing combinations featuring a pianist, bassist, and drummer. The striking aspect of this recording is the warmth of the interaction, not only between the two guitarists but also among all of the musicians of the session. This is a lively disc with players who know how to listen and respond, their deft timing and support for each other is notable.
Drummer Mike Sheperd and bassist Tommy Cecil are superb in the difficult role of backing a two-guitar front line. Pianist Robert Redd's contribution is primarily in a supportive role, adding low-key, thoughtful solo work along the way. The intertwining guitar and piano lines are particularly subtle and effective. It should be noted that the musicianship throughout this recording is impressively sophisticated, taut, and swinging. Both Abshire and Lewis can do it all, including providing excellent accompaniment for each other and tossing off consistently interesting solos. Both are guitar pros who have gracefully absorbed the history of their instruments with stylistic nods to the likes of Herb Ellis, Joe Pass, Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessel, Chuck Wayne, and Joe Puma. Noteworthy Jazz has much to be proud of with their presentation of the debut recording of this classy guitar duo. Highly recommended.
Track Listing: Undecided; Bernie's Tune; Tea for Two; Three Little Words; Someone To Light Up My Life; Show Me; This Masquerade; If I Had You; Blues In The Closet; I Can't Give You Anything But Love; Samba D'Sandra; and Nagasaki. (67:28)
Personnel: Steve Abshire, guitar; Vince Lewis, guitar; Robert Redd, piano; Tommy Cecil, bass; and Mike Sheperd, drums.
There is a freedom and a sense of exhilaration in Jazz that is not found in any other music. Jazz is about finding freedom and a personal voice within a structure, and that is what
appeals to me most. I had a late start in jazz.
I was first exposed to jazz without any formal training by watching videos of Bill Evans, Chick Corea and Thelonious Monk in my 20's.
Later, I met Ahmad Jamal, Kenny Werner, Chick Corea, Martial Solal, Bernard Maury, Fred Hersh, Barry Harris, among many other musicians over the years.
The first jazz record I
bought was Keith Jarrett, The Melody at Night, with You and it is still one of the solo piano masterpiece in my view.
My advice to new listeners... Just enjoy it!
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