Nick Russo | Self Published (2006)
By Jim Santella
With varied tastes in the field of modern jazz, guitarist Nick Russo covers a wide range. He loves to interject sensual themes into his work, portraying a romantic vision as well as a consonant landscape that both rest on pleasurable experiences. They’re Russo’s compositions, and they represent deep feelings.
Miles Griffith sings on three selections, providing unique wordless passages as well as original lyrics. He makes a suitable musical partner for Russo, since they share an appreciation for smooth scenery and spontaneity. Tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, who sits in on four selections, provides a matching tone that glows eloquently. Pianist Art Hirahara provides a stable foundation for the guitarist, while several guests give the album a unique quality.
“Mitzvah” includes lyrics that run in unison with tenor saxophone. Along with tabla and a standard rhythm section, Griffith jumps out with an outstanding vocal tirade. Emotions fly in all directions, giving the piece an evocative, thrilling luster.
Russo serves as the session’s glue, holding its varied elements together with his expressive guitar. For the most part, he enjoys a warm composure that allows him to interpret melodies in a casual and laid-back fashion. Russo keeps his soloing simple enough, preferring to emphasize melody over technique. Thus, his second recording session as leader brings plenty of variety into the arena from his sidemen and guests, while allowing him to lead with a conservative formula.
Visit Nick Russo on the web. www.nickrusso.org
Track listing: Triggered; Moy Zaichick; Ro; Dinda; Mitzvah; untitled; Little Hands; Mmmm; Please Come Home.
Personnel: Nick Russo: guitar, acoustic guitar, tenor banjo; Miles
Griffith: vocals; Mark Turner, Bryan Murray: tenor saxophone; Greg
Glassman: trumpet; Art Hirahara: piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano; Pandit Samir Chatterjee: tabla; Nathan Peck, Matt Clohsey: bass; Willard Dyson, Ari Hoenig: drums; David Pleasant: drums & percussion.