Five years ago, after Dave Koz and Friends released Summer Horns—the GRAMMY-nominated album that paid tribute to classic songs featuring killer horn sections—all that the musicians could think about was how much fun they’d just had. They toured behind the album during the summer of 2013, then vowed to spend the following summer doing it all over again.
Jim Hall's successful blend of contemporary and mainstream jazz should appeal to both camps on this well-crafted CD. Hall displays the subtle quiet lyricism that makes his guitar sound instantly identifiable. Gil Goldstein is a perfect choice on keyboards, because he uses synthesizer only to color rather than overpower a song, while avoiding schmaltz. Both "Beja-Flor" and the title track benefit from his contributions. Though his piano is frequently in the background, it matches Hall's hushed, effective guitar lines. Bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer Terry Clarke frequently lay out during the introductions and then enter to add either gentle shadings or full steam, if needed. One of Jim Hall's best CDs.
Although guitarist Barney Kessel interprets seven standard ballads on this CD reissue (a trio set with bassist Monty Budwig and drummer Jake Hanna), this is not a ballad album. Most of the songs are taken at faster than usual tempoes with the emphasis on Kessel's chordal (rather than single-note) solos. The guitarist was in peak form around this era as can be heard on a romping version of "I Love You," "Star Eyes," "Like Someone in Love" and "Get Out of Town." In addition he contributes one of his finest originals, "Seagull," a song that deserves to be revived. This underrated set is well worth exploring.
In the early '80s, Tânia Maria burst upon the U.S. music scene, playing an exuberant blend of Brazilian pop and jazz. Her first few recordings for Concord Picante (of which Come with Me is the third) remain her most rewarding sets. Maria's spirited vocals and hyper keyboard work star throughout the date (which finds her interpreting seven of her originals and "Embraceable You"), supported by a sextet including both Eddie Duran and José Neto on guitar.
Other than a Prestige date in 1969, this was guitarist Tal Farlow's first recording in nearly 17 years. He is heard at a reunion with vibraphonist Red Norvo and matching wits with pianist Hank Jones, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Jake Hanna. Recorded at the 1976 Concord Jazz Festival, this was Farlow's first of six Concord albums, and it led to a slightly higher profile for him than during the past decade. Highlights of the joyous occasion include Norvo's feature on "The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else," a heated "Lullaby of Birdland" and a colorful rendition of "My Shining Hour." Highly recommended to straight-ahead jazz fans.