Thursday, March 2, 2017

John Stein - Color Tones (WHALING CITY SOUND RECORDS 2017)

Acclaimed guitarist John Stein expands his already impressive sonic palette on this new recording, Color Tones. The album, created with his ever-intriguing core rhythm section—masterful drummer Zé Eduardo Nazario and renowned bassist John Lockwood—also adds the voices of two mature and unique soloists, Fernando  Brandão  on  flutes and Phil Grenadier on trumpets and mutes. Songs like the concise “Neck Road” provide an example of how this collective functions, featuring all five instrumentalists intertwining in spontaneous interplay: the musical conversation is respectful, energetic, and bristling. All of Stein’s accompanists here expertly carve out their territory. Stein is a generous bandleader. Every musician is featured extensively, and they complement each other tastily, adding their personal expression to the overall fabric.

Stein’s compositions provide the necessary structure without inhibiting the musicians’ ability to add their individual voices to the group effort, allowing all parties to color in the details of those structures artfully. In addition to the arranging ideas contributed by the composer and the players, three of the songs are arranged by Adi Yeshaya, which adds immeasurably to the sonic variety of this recording. Though the acoustic format feels traditional on the surface, there are surprises hiding underneath. This is music of depth and subtlety. In fact, Color Tones is a true delight and a Triple Threat: excellent compositions, sublime arrangements, and enthralling musicianship. Isn’t that all we hope to receive when we listen to a jazz recording?

01. The Commons
02. Angel Eyes
03. New Shoes
04. Five Weeks
05. Jo Ann
06. Neck Road
07. Labor Of Love
08. Ebb and Flow
09. Four Corners
10. Salt Marsh Down
11. Wall Stones

John Stein - guitar
Phil Grenadier - trumpet, flugelhorn, bass flute
Fernando Brandão - flute,alto flute, bass flute
John Lockwood - acoustic bass
Zé Eduardo Nazario - drums