Having thoroughly invested countless hours in the studios and years as a journeyman, James Silberstein has developed a style with a warm and lucid tone, harmonic flair and an alluring sense of swing. Silberstein, who played guitar for such jazz luminaries as Bucky Pizzarelli, Zoot Sims and newly crowned songstress, Norah Jones, strikes out on his own with his first release as a leader. Song for Micaela is a CD that features time honored standards, choice originals and boasts a considerable line up of jazz veterans including trumpeter Mike Brecker, saxophonist Eric Alexander, pianist Bruce Barth and singer Carla Cook.
Quick to stake his territory, Red Carpet
, an original by Silberstein, shows us a glimpse of his technical aptitude and overall confidence in this easy bopper. After the snappy trumpeting from Becker, Silberstein laces his solo with clever combinations between chords and single-note runs. He ups the ante with a rousing but poised attack in the modern jazz chestnut, Nica’s Tempo
which is taken at its characteristic romping speed.
Increasingly recorded by jazz artists Sergio Mendez’s So Many Stars
has become a fine addition to the jazz canon with its haunting melody in which Cook capably delivers a stirring rendition with her enthralling vocals. There is nice backing and guitar work by Silberstein but this piece clearly belongs to Cook. Silberstein bounces back center stage in a paired down trio by negotiating the classic How Deep is The Ocean
with artistic breeziness. His rhythm mates bassist Tony Cimorosi and drummer Vince Cherico provide sensitive accompaniment and are rock steady throughout the session.
Showing his versatility in compositional styles, Silberstein gives nod to the earthy funk and blues of Bobby Timmons and late 60’s Cannonball Adderley. His Aqua
and House Party
lays a soulful groove for which Becker, Alexander and Barth answer his calls with likeminded flair. Silberstein demonstrates a fiery restraint and solos with passion on both numbers. In Song for Micaela
, he shows his pension for Brazilian rhythms in a trio format by declaring a father’s love for his daughter.
Silberstein sheds the extroverted cover on unaccompanied guitar in ballad Why Did I Choose You
playing with rapt introspection and beauty in a closer that indelibly pulls off his first date without a hitch. It is an easy recommend.