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Album Review

In his own sure and steady manner, Joe Cohn has developed into one of the more reliable and consistent modern mainstream jazz guitarists. His clean, single-line melodic approach is pleasing to the ear without being flashy or pyrotechnical. The key to Cohn, like his formidable father the late great saxophonist Al Cohn, is his innate sense of musicality bonded to solid technique and good, swinging common sense. For this effort, Cohn is heard in various small ensemble settings primarily featuring Dutchmen — the excellent pianist Peter Beets, drummer Joost Van Schaik, and expatriate bassist J.J. Wiggins aka Hassan Shakur — in a program of concisely rendered standards and two of his dad's originals. Cohn's allegiance to the concept of counterpoint, as implied in the title, is a strong suit towards interacting with his bandmates, made readily available to listeners who are paying close attention to this music. This set starts with two standards — "Just One of Those Things" and "You Turned The Tables on Me" — with a different grouping featuring bassist Peter Washington and drummer Willie Jones III. They are responsible for urging Cohn into the typical, single-line swing and no-frills jazz that signify his style. This ensemble also shows up for the ballad "Man with a Horn" with a soft, slightly tart cameo by young tenor saxophonist Dmitry Baevsky, and the soft bossa "Danielle" penned by papa Cohn. The rest of the material is played by the band with Beets, whose remarkable melodic sense grows with every passing year. His block chords during a samba version of Cole Porter's "I Love You Samantha" display the pure symmetry between him and the guitarist, and how well they play in unison for Bill Mobley's bright bopper "49th Street." The classic, long enduring Charlie Parker favorite "Barbados" is played quite well in its Latin frame, and the band cranks it up a notch for Al Cohn's original "Something for Lisa," as the guitarist plays more chords. "I Got a Right to Sing the Blues" also has Joe Cohn strumming more but still plucking, and shows his patient virtue during the beautiful Gary McFarland evergreen "Blue Serge," an oft neglected but heart warming, well-chosen selection. Where there's a certain variety in song selections, you hear much depth, thoughtfulness, and real purpose in the playing of this music. Where there's no groundbreaking or innovation, Joe Cohn has produced yet another solid, straight-ahead jazz album that should easily satisfy his fans and those who enjoy the contemplative, at ease side of life. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Pure Jazz

One of the best jazz guitar albums I have ever had.

Shared Contemplations, Joe Cohn
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