Smile! - Staffan-William Olsson

Staffan-William Olsson

Staffan, despite being from Norway, plays like he's from Pittsburgh or D.C. His sound is rich and warm and powerful. Stright out of the Hard Bop school, Olsson is direct and bluesy with his ideas and reminiscent of Tal Farlow in his execution. The original compositions are fun, too. Can You Spare A Dime recalls the heady days of the Jazz Messengers in the 60s. This is a crisp, tight recording.

Virtues Of The Well - Robert Tye

Virtues Of The Well
Robert Tye

This one caught my ear immediately. Creepy drum grooves and washy guitar chords followed by haunting melodies. There are combinations of ideas and styles on this disc that you probably have not heard before. Tye's sound is both light and muscular and his improvisations go in unexpected directions. The band turns in a burning performance. This is music on a high intellectual level but with a deep groove.

In Exile - Larry Vincent

In Exile
Larry Vincent

Born in Venezuela but a current resident of Knoxville, Tennessee, Vincent is comfortable with the mixture of disparate cultures. This CD combines mainstream jazz sounds with original compositions and Venezuelan folk songs played in a new way. Vincent's guitar sound has the directness of Pat Martino but the rootsiness of Jimmy Ponder or Grant Green. The fresh ideas in Vincent's writing tells me we'll hear from him again.

Smooth Corners - Patrick Greene Trio

Smooth Corners
Patrick Greene Trio

Greene is from San Francisco, but his music reminds me of Detroit and Flint, Michigan, where I grew up. Greene's guitar sound has a bluesy, resilient edge to it. The presence of the Hammond B-3 evokes memories of all the great organ trios of the past, yet the musical ideas here are totally modern. Great disc.

Live - Ulf Wakenius

Ulf Wakenius

Ulf is probably the best known Swedish jazz guitarist in the States. He has played with Ray Brown and Oscar Peterson. It's no surprise, then, to hear him channeling Joe Pass from time to time. But at other times Ulf is a man possessed, playing with the intensity of John Coltrane and the fluidity of John Abercrombie. This is a great example of what he can do in front of an audience.

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