The Rob Levit Trio,
Uncertain Path
(Symbol System, 2004)

Uncertain Path is a hugely eclectic, wholly absorbing album of shifting moods and textures, where nuance and detail abound. Rob Levit's absorbing melodic jazz lines are sensitively, robustly enhanced by Amy Shook (double bass) and Frank Russo (drums and percussion) -- there is a wonderful rapport between the three.

Levit is an innovative guitarist of huge range and ability; his playing traverses the jazz, blues, folk and classical genres, and really commands your attention. Playful, humorous touches prevail -- wah-wah guitar chops impress hugely in "M-dive," and the bluesy drive and superb drum-licks of "Daily Grind Blues" are a delight. The angular samba rhythm and dazzling chops of title track "Uncertain Path" soon give way to moody, spacious electric guitar exploration. Stunning. This trio interprets these compositions with relish; an imaginative approach to jazz structure permeates the recording.

It's impossible to pick out standouts from such a rewarding album. There is a near-perfect cover of Bob Marley's "Waiting in Vain" (it's beautiful!), and Sting's "Fields of Gold" is a stunningly imaginative, hugely ambient interpretation -- with wonderful bass from Shook. The trio's mutual empathy consistently reveals itself -- the sheer restraint of beautiful 9/11 tribute "Safe Returns" is a case in point. Each musician respects the other's space, and all three triumph.

Levit's folk-tinged ballad compositions reveal a wealth of emotion, and a seemingly effortless ability to convey it -- the immensely beautiful melody lines of tunes such as "After You (for Elaine)" and "Ballad #3" make for immeasurably fine listening.

This music will impress those who enjoy the likes of Pat Metheny, Michael Hedges and John McLaughlin. Levit is a virtuoso in his own right, worthy of having his name placed alongside musicians of this repute. And be warned -- this is a recording of exceptional sound quality; a warm, bright, rich tone prevails. If you visit Rob's website, you'll realise he's also a visual artist of note, and that he's actively involved in education and many other inspiring music projects.

Uncertain Path impresses and delivers in its innovation and musical scope -- and is strongly recommended.

by Debbie Koritsas
1 July 2006

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