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The Calling:Volume One by Terrence Brewer

This debut CD is the first of two volumes released this year by young San Francisco Bay area guitarist Terrence Brewer.

In the album notes, he says these recordings are the culmination of many years of studying and performing with myriad musicians and playing in a countless number of venues. In the past, his mentors have been such fine guitarists as Charlie Hunter and Mark Levine, and he has appeared with the likes of Pete Escavedo and Bruce Foreman.

In Vol 1, Brewer breaks out with 10 original compositions and is joined by his group regulars, Ben Stolorow, piano; Ravi Abcarian, acoustic bass; and Micah McClain, drums. There is no doubt about it, Brewer is a talented soloist and composer. The only complaint about the CD is that there is a sameness about the numbers, with no peaks of exciting improvisation.

In many of the tunes, piano, bass and drums start out providing a rhythmic cushion, and then Brewer comes in with lovely single line solos. With "The Way," for example, the rhythm section sustains a sedate three-note beat in the beginning, followed by Brewer, extending the reflective mood of this ballad with his solo.

In "All the King’s Horses," one of the best tunes, Brewer improvises softly before building to a strong climax. He then yields to Stolorow’s intricate solo, all this on a solid foundation put down by McClain and Abcarian, who comes in for a lovely bass interlude at the end.

"Dedication" and "Vari-8-Shun," pick up the tempo and exhibit some swinging piano by Stolorow. Cleverly, "Vari-8-Shun," gives a nod toward Miles Davis’ "So What" at the beginning and end. Here Brewer again displays his straight-ahead single-note style, with Stolorow excelling, as well, trading fours with drummer McClain.

A consideration: maybe Brewer should have included some familiar material. One gets used to his compositional style quickly and might have liked to have heard how the group would handle a standard or two. Vol Two, also just out, features Wil Blade on organ, Derrek Phillips on drums and Eric Drake on tenor sax.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Terrence Brewer
  • CD Title: The Calling:Volume One
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Strong Brew Music
  • Rating: Three Stars
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