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Wood and Strings is “Seventy minutes of clever, subtle, inventive music”

By: Leonid Auskern

For many years I have been listening to American guitarist John Stein (all his CDs are on Whaling City Sound and invariably fall into our “CD-Reviews”) and he never ceases to amaze with every new work. This time it’s a duet album, where bass player Dave Zinno is John’s partner.

The story of this project is told in the liner notes to the album by Stein himself (besides his notes, there is also a great text from John Thomas, not the first time commenting on Stein’s work). In 2016, Stein signed a contract for a month of performances at a restaurant in New Bedford, Massachusetts (the city where the Whaling City Sound label is based). John’s friend and label owner, Neal Weiss, recommended Dave Zinno as a duet partner. The two musicians “fused” so successfully, that the idea to record a joint album was born. Some of it was recorded live at the restaurant, in the morning before its official opening. Then a few weeks later, the musicians moved to Stein’s home studio, where they finished the work with the help of the classy sound engineer Antonio Oliart Ros. So the album “Wood and Strings” was born.

“Wood and strings” – that’s what John and Dave called it, meaning their instruments: guitar and double bass. I would call it “Strings and Fingers” rather: it was the touch of the sensitive, understanding, and able fingers of the musicians that gave birth to the magic miracle of this wonderful music. The album contains 14 songs: a few of Stein’s compositions, some standards, and one song of Zinno’s. The album can be savored as a delicious dish, if mainstream jazz is the “kitchen” you like. Stein has long been considered one of the foremost guitarists in this genre. In Dave Zinno, he found a worthy partner. “Up and at ‘Em” and “Switch-a-roo” (composed by Stein), and “Beatrice” by Sam Rivers are highlights. Of course, there was a place in the program for Brazilian jazz, a type of music for which Stein has very warm feelings: “Modinha” from de Moraes and Jobim fit the bill. Seventy minutes of clever, subtle, inventive music is “Wood and Strings,” at your service!
Image result for john stein wood and strings
To read the full review, translated click here 
To buy Wood and Strings, click here
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Review of Greg Abate with the Tim Ray Trio’s Road to Forever

The following review has been translated from Russian:

Greg Abate with the Tim Ray Trio – Road to Forever

Style: Jazz


Wonderful American saxophonist Greg Abate first time staying in our CD- review. Reviews of his previous releases easy to find on the site, placing in the search engine the name of the musician. In this regard, I did not really want to dwell on biographical details, but Greg so built the program of his new album, Road to Forever, that almost every play, coupled with handwritten comments on it from the maestro as liner notes, a lot said about himself, and his line in the works.

Here, for example, the song Farewell Phil Woods, it is devoted to memory of the recently deceased outstanding alto saxophonist. Greg also plays the viola, his favorite instrument. And just remember the fantastic live album Kindred Spirits, where the two masters playing together – as it turned out, the last time. Abate wrote that this sad and very poignant music he had composed on the day when he learned of the death of the Woods. But Mr. The Parker – Memory play another alto saxophonist, and the great forerunner of the Woods, and Abate – Charlie Parker. Greg picked here as a basis for the famous theme Byrd Confirmation and based on it created a real musical monument to the classic bop. This initiation of a different kind: Whaling City Sound – this song title, and the name of the label that issued the album. Greg Abate for years been cooperating with the independent label and constantly feel support and understanding from the chief of the company Neil Weiss. Juicy solo tenor – thanks to his musician publishers. A warm note dizzying improvisations in fervent rhythm The Dancing Panda – it’s a sound bouquet beloved companion the musician’s life. 2017 year – the jubilee Greg Abate: he turns 70. The time to make sense of the past and take a sober look to the future. Because so strong philosophical implications and a few minor mood Seasons composition. Abate here reflects that “… as a relentlessly changing fast time and how fragile life is.”

But while Greg Abate true to himself in one thing: it was and remains true knight bebop, while continuing to develop the idea of Parker and Gillespie language of modern jazz. He is bright, the effect is creative and playing the viola, and, on tenor and soprano sax, as in the title song, and the flute – a real multi-instrumentalist. Faithful is he and his regular partners – the trio of pianist Tim Ray, which is recorded and concerts for many years. And Tim and bassist John Lockwood and drummer Mark Walker – experienced musicians who not only assisted by their leader, but also make a very large contribution to the ensemble sound. Not in vain the name of the trio placed on the cover of the album next to the name of Greg Abate. Those who are already familiar with these names, can hardly miss this novelty by Whaling City Sound, the same one who had not heard the music Abate and still loves straight ahead jazz – should listen to very high quality example of this kind of music.

Leonid Auskern

To see the original version in Russian click here.

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