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East of the Sun, West of the Moon by The LaVerne Christie Trio

East of the Sun, West of the Moon by The LaVerne Christie Trio, another guitar trio, and led by a women. How many serious female jazz guitarists are there? I can only come up with a few, Emily Remler, Mimi Fox, Mary Osborne and Jane Miller. Add to this list LaVerne Christie, a guitar student of Mimi Fox who in turn was a student of Emily Remler, a small world is that of the ladies in jazz, and especially that of female jazz guitarists. The LaVerne Christie trio follows in the footsteps of some of the great guitar trios, performing classic jazz standards in a wonderfully spontaneous manner, putting a fresh face to some beautiful melodies. The debut recording by LaVerne Christie is comprised of eleven songs, gems like "Stompin’ at the Savoy", "Well You Needn’t" and "Stardust". The classics "Dolphin Dance" and "East of the Sun" are presented in fine fashion, serious guitar playing, new arrangements and with tight accompaniment from bassist Mark Ruben and drummer Mike Candito.

The influence of guitarist Herb Ellis and to a lesser degree the guitar style of Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass are all present in LaVerne Christie’s guitar playing. Ms. Christie has a clean fluid guitar style made up of sharp crystalline single note runs, blending melody and rhythm flawlessly into sounds of delight. She produces a full sound, a tone that is classic arch top for the most part; some guitar parts remind me of a classically trained guitarist, with a nylon string sound as in the song "Be My Love." Her phrasing is well articulated, a Latin element comes through, a little Brazilian flavour comes through as well, as in the tunes "Tin Tin Deo" and "The Sunset Hour".

East of the Sun, West of the Moon by The LaVerne Christie Trio mixes up the styles but maintains the flow, the essence of this strong guitar led trio is all about harmony, melody and wonderful rhythms. The bass playing by Mark Ruben is very solid not only in holding the foundation but in enhancing the tone, adding the color to the sound, making for a very bright harmonic picture. Drummer Mike Candito pushes each song with his dynamically driven style, never laying back, he adds plenty of excitement to the trio’s tune selection and fills in with excellent cymbal work to provide a full sound. His drumming is a superb accompaniment to LaVerne Christie with well thought out fills and rhythms, there are no empty feelings. Ms. Christie has plenty of opportunity to branch out and so she does, there are many excellent moments of guitar spontaneity. Not just another guitar trio, this is a very good guitar trio, so if you like jazz, guitar or just want to hear some great music give this a listen.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: The LaVerne Christie Trio
  • CD Title: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Quiescent
  • Tracks: Stompin’ at the Savoy, Dolphin Dance, My Little Suede Shoes, Pick Yourself Up, Tin Tin Deo, Well, You Needn’t, East of the Sun (West of the Moon), The Sunset Hour, Stardust, Line for Lyons, Be My Love
  • Musicians: LaVerne Christie (guitar), Mark Ruben (bass), Mike Candito (drums)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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