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Jack Wilkins: Until It's Time

Jim Santella By

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A guitarist with the kind of dexterity that Jack Wilkins shares is bound to find success in many fields, especially when based in New York, where he's surrounded by great musicians all the time. As Until It's Time features piano, bass and drums in support of Wilkins' sensual fret board articulation, much of the album relies on familiar songs and a conservative love affair with melody.

Wilkins works in unison with piano, stretches out frequently, and turns his musical partners loose often in order to invite adventures of their own. Most of the session features up-tempo romps where rhythm grabs a collar-full of surprise and propels the unit forcefully. Others, such as "These Foolish Things," slow the mood down considerably in order to allow soulful ballad feelings their share of the moment.

A blazing-fast arrangement of "Tico Tico" finds Wilkins burning up the fret board with fingers that accelerate like a machine gun. While his articulation rides fast in sixth gear, the guitarist delivers a crystal attack where every note finds clarity. Similarly, "Airegin" and "Show Me" allow the ensemble to romp hard and fast with a characteristic bop attack.

Wilkins, 65, has remained an integral part of the New York jazz scene for close to 50 years. From Buddy Rich's small ensembles of the 1970s to a modern-day NEA grant and a striking relationship with the Smithsonian Institution, he's covered all the jazz bases and continues to create great jazz.

Track Listing: Arthur's Theme; Show Me; Blossom; Walk Don't Run; These Foolish Things; Lauro's Waltz; Two for the Road; Fur Elise; Tico Tico; Airegin; Until It's Time for You to Go; Blossom.

Personnel: Jack Wilkins: amplified guitar; Jon Cowherd: piano, piano & organ (3, 12), organ (11); Steve LaSpina: double bass; Mark Ferber: drums; Samuel Torres: percussion (1); Jeff Barone: acoustic guitar (3, 12).

Title: Until It's Time | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: MAXJAZZ

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