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

The story of this project was told in 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 the work of Stein). In 2016, Stein signed a contract for a month’s performances at one of the restaurants in New Bedford, Massachusetts (in this city the Whaling City Sound label is based). An old friend of John, the chief of the label named Neil Weis, recommended him as a partner to Dave Cinneau. All the “merged” so successfully, the musicians so approached each other that the idea was born to record a joint album. Some of it was recorded live, in the same restaurant, in the morning, before its official opening, and then, in a couple of weeks, 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 him, meaning his instruments, guitar and double bass. I would call it “Strings and Fingers” rather: it was the touch of the sensitive, all understanding and all able fingers of the musicians that created the magic miracle of wonderful music. The album contained 14 songs: Stein’s plays, standards and one song for Song for Now. The album can be savored as a delicious dish, if this “kitchen”, that is, mainstream jazz, you like. Stein has long and fairly been considered one of the elite guitarists of this trend. In the person of Zinno, he found a worthy partner. Up and at ‘Em, Switch-a-roo (Stein’s plays), Beatrice from Sam Rivers – above all praise. Of course, there was a place in the program and Brazilian jazz, to which Stein has very warm feelings: Modinha from de Moraes and Jobim album just decorated. Seventy minutes of clever, subtle, inventive music is Wood and Strings, at your service!

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