Joe Jewell Quartet, |
Every Note Counts
The Joe Jewell Quartet, made up of guitarist Jewell, drummer Mile Bennett, Reed Gratz on Fender Rhodes and Baba Elefante on bass, offers on this CD a nice set of very politely played tunes. Ballads and mid-tempo tunes dominate the collection and many of them come from the pop, rather than the jazz world. The quartet offers their take on "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," from Lerner & Lowe's score to My Fair Lady and Bobby Hebb's "Sunny." Both are treated respectfully but neither varies very far from home. Listening, you always feel safe.
Jewell reminds us of his years of studying classical guitar when he offers up "Estate," which includes the Prelude to "La Catedral" from the Paraguayan composer, Augustin Barrios Mangore. Again, respectful, competent and without flair.
The rest of the tunes are from the jazz canon -- Thad Jones' "A Child is Born," on which Jewell pays tribute to Kenny Burrell by playing it in his style (he does Wes Montgomery on "Sunny"). He adds songs from Jim Hall and Thelonius Monk. All are played, as I said, prettily and politely. For me, though, the CD, although always pleasant, never rises above the level of skillfully done light jazz. Like a fast food burger, it lacks bite and flavor.
Michael Scott Cain
10 May 2008
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