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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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JOHN STEIN QUARTET

Raising the Roof

Whaling City Sound WCS 050

 

 


1. Nica’s Dream
2. Moanin’
3. A Child is Born
4. Elvin!
5. Invitation
6. Vivo Sonhando
7. Beautiful Love
8. Wild Woods
9. Falling in Love with Love

John Stein – Guitar
Koichi Sato – Acoustic piano/Rhodes
John Lockwood - Acoustic bass
Ze Eduardo Nazario – Drums

 

I have been aware of John Stein on the international jazz scene for years but I have to admit that, prior to this album, I had not heard him play. He is, to my mind, right up there with the very best of the world’s jazz guitar players. On this album his selection of a supporting trio is top class and so is the selection of tunes. What a treat to listen to music which is interesting throughout, but entirely accessible from start to finish.

The work of a master always makes playing an instrument sound easy; of course that is not actually the case but the artist’s ability transcends the normal to take the musicianship on to a higher plane.

The programme starts with Horace Silver’s Nica’s Dream, taken at a faster than normal pace. The swing the quartet develops is incredible, as they romp through the changes. Bobby Timmons' Moanin’ gets a new treatment as suggested by drummer Nazario. A Child is Born is given a ¾ treatment, which fits the tune very well. Elvin! is a tribute to legendary drummer Elvin Jones: it is a John Stein original, with a drum feature as befits a tune with that title.

Invitation, a lovely tune, is given a Latin feel throughout and the mood continues with a bossa feel on Jobim’s Vivo Sonhando. On both these tracks the expertise of excellent Brazilian drummer Ze Eduardo Nazario is put to good use. John Lockwood’s bass playing contributes throughout the album and to great effect on Vivo. Pianist Koichi Sato is Japanese but his absorption into jazz is total, his solos are superb and his "comping" immaculate.

Beautiful Love is given a straightforward swing treatment as befits such a great song. Wild Woods is another Stein original, this time with a ¾ beat. It has a pleasant melody and serves as an excellent vehicle for this very talented quartet to improvise on. There are good solos from everyone, separated by an interesting bridge; nobody disappoints in the slightest.

Falling in Love with Love is another straight-ahead swinger. The sleeve-note says that it gives the band an opportunity to take pleasure in the fundamental joys of jazz. They do so admirably and bring to a close one of the most enjoyable albums I have heard in a long time.

Don Mather



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