Smart, Energetic Purist Guitar Jazz from Graham Dechter
If it’s possible for an album of other peoples’ material to be brash, that somewhat describes guitarist Graham Dechter’s 2009 debut as a bandleader, Right on Time. His second, Takin’ It There is more dynamically charged and a degree subtler. A jazz purist in the Wes Montgomery/Barney Kessel tradition (both of whom he covers here), Dechter has irrepressible, tireless energy, wicked precision and a clean, unvarnished tone. The personnel here are the same as on his debut: bassist John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton (who mentored him in their Jazz Orchestra) and pianist Tamir Hendelman.
A spring-loaded version of Montgomery’s Road Song kicks things off, Dechter’s sizzling descending runs handing off to a jaunty ragtime-flavored Hendelman solo and then a wry bass solo that’s classic Clayton. Likewise, Clayton’s minimalism contrasts mightily with the guitarist’s expansive approach on an expert take of Kessel’s Be Deedle De Do. The standout track here is Jobim’s Chega de Suadade (No More Blues), slowly shifting from vividly scampering unease through up-and-down-tempos to a galloping, bubbly romp.
Likewise, an original Dechter ballad, Together & Apart follows a meticulous arc up from understated angst, brightening with a more bluesy feel. The album’s title track, by pianist Josh Nelson, works a brightly swinging early 60s Grant Green vibe, nonchalantly building to a tasty outro fueled by Hamilton’s clustering attack and Hendelman’s big block chords.Clayton contributes Grease for Graham, a matter-of-fact midtempo/slow swing number that essentially segues into a breakneck take on Lee Morgan’s Hocus Pocus, whose high point is a rare drum solo that actually manages to bring the energy down a bit. There’s also a version of Come Rain or Come Shine that follows an almost imperceptible trajectory from gentle to gritty, a pulsing, goodnatured take on George Coleman’s Father, and a concluding diptych of a solo Dechter ballad into a similarly tender take of Every Time We Say Goodbye. It’s out now from Capri Records.
No comments yet.