Ask not where the young jazz guitarists are. They’re everywhere and they’ve got a lot on their minds, too. Here are a couple of young jazz guitarists similarly eclectic and full of new ideas and with similarly little patience for the conventional but coming from an ocean apart. Neither one is ready to displace the two Pats on jazz Olympus – Martino and Metheny – but both are way too cool to fade into the background.
Ximo Tebar is a Spaniard who’s already something of a jazz veteran with several CDs to his credit. When, for instance, a Spanish guitarist has been in the past completely at home in a recoding studio with, for instance, Lou Donaldson Dr. Lonnie Smith and ldris Muhammad, you don’t expect him to be this kind of abstractionist and playing games this clever with Monks “Evidence”. He also plays choice jazz standards from Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson and Oscar Pettiford (the venerable Tricotism). Vibist Dave Samuels is just one of the American musicians clearly turned on in his company.
Even more interesting is Nick Russo, whose wildly eclectic disc comes festooned with happy blurbs from jazz wise men Jimmy Heath and Jim Hall – and deserves to and then some. There’s all kinds of intriguing jazz guitar on this disc, but you cant predict from one cut to the next what you’ll get. He does the Metheny guitar-and vocalize thing, but he also plays homemade bossa novas, tunes with titles like “Mitzvah” and uses an Indian tabla drummer. Tenor saxophonist Mark Turner shows up for the cause. He’ll be fascinating to follow in future discs.
– Jeff Simon
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