James Silberstein

(Consolidated Artists Productions)

Review by Brad Walseth

High-octane guitarist James Silberstein leaves skidmarks on the pavement on this highly recommended second outing from the well-respected NYC guitar master. Surrounded by a plethora of top-name talent, including tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, trumpeter Jim Rotondi, drummer Vince Cherico, vocalist Kate McGarry and many more, Silberstein turns in a satisfying recording of standards and originals that combine Latin elements with solid straight ahead bop. He is aided greatly in this venture by the presence of veteran bassist Harvie S, who provided one original tune, cowrote another and handled the arrangement duties on all of the tracks.

Cole Porter's "From This Moment On" charges out of the gate in a thrilling steeplechase version. Silberstein's Wes Montgomery/Pat Martino influences are immediately felt as he blazes and skitters through this exciting piece. Pianist Jill McCarron comps nicely, while Harvie and Cherico provide a rapid-fire rhythm. Rotondi and Alexander are given ample room to swing mightily and the pleasures of this track simply announce what the listener is in for on this recording.

Jack Wilkins' delightful "Kiwi Bird" follows and features Anne Drummond's flute in complementing Silberstein on this classical-flavored, bouncy number. Siberstein's solo work here as elsewhere is impeccable. Harvie S adds burnished arco bass to open the Raye/Depaul standard, "You Don’t Know What Love Is," which is transformed into a lovely cha cha complete with an intelligent Harvie S solo plucked on the string bass. Meanwhile, Mercer/Arlen's "Come Rain or Shine" features a kaleidoscopic horn arrangement and smooth time-shifting from four to six and back.

Guest vocalist McGarry, recently seen in Chicago with Donny McCaslin, adds wordless vocals to the lovely Silberstein/Harvie S composition, "Shadows." Harvie S also contributes the evocative "A Simple Thank You," with McCarron’s beautiful and graceful piano, while Silberstein offers the burning title track and the exceptional Latin-tinged "Glass Garden" that may be the absolute highlight of the album. This song churns along, aided by percussionist Daniel Sadownick and gives nearly the entire band the opportunity to shine on this number which Silberstein wrote to revisit the sound of the Herbie Hancock band circa "Maiden Voyage." Fine versions of "My Romance" and "Skylark" (as a bossa) as well as a killer solo guitar interpretation of J.J. Johnson's "Lament" round out this excellent release, Fans of guitar jazz, bossa or bop or anything in between should be burning rubber to get a hold of a copy, and the success this release has had on jazz radio so far has been a testament to the fine playing, arrangements and songwriting to be had on this enjoyable trip in the fast lane.

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