Revered jazz guitarist Paul Bollenback brings eloquence, finesse and fierce chops to the table. With his seventh release as a leader, he prepares the setting with strong compositional form, all topped off by razor-sharp soloing and memorably melodic themes. Long admired for his session work, especially as one of the supreme organ-combo guitarists, Bollenback and trumpeter Randy Brecker generate some high-level music magic on select tracks.
Enamored by a crystalline recorded sound, the guitarist’s exquisite phrasings serve as a near-flawless foil for Brecker’s golden-toned lines on various works. They launch the festivities with a lovely diminutive theme on "Dancing Leaf." And in other regions of this album the soloists’ trade effervescent call and response dialogues, often accelerated by Bollenback’s blistering single note runs. On the late pianist James Williams’ "Alter-Ego," Chris McNulty’s wordless vocals and harmonization of the primary theme casts a lush vista that offers a hint of the tropics. While the guitarist’s original comp "Invocation Part I" features an ethereal storyline marked by drifting choruses and it’s as pretty as a picture!
Bollenback’s technique encompasses his ability to seemingly glide across his fret board with effortless skill. But it’s not all about sweetening the pot. In effect, there are numerous episodes where the ensemble soars skyward amid a buoyant demeanor that spawns a great deal of looseness via the deceptively complex progressions. At the end of the day, it’s a great album that combines the best of disparate jazz stylizations, all performed with an undeniable touch of class.