Jack is a unique figure. He plays bass with the Nashville String Machine, a group of studio musicians who have played with everyone from Donna Summer to Deana Carter to the Beach Boys. But in this incarnation, he’s a brilliant nylon-stringed guitarist who concentrates on jazz. This CD features some great originals mixed in with standards like “My Funny Valentine,” “Stella By Starlight,” and “‘Round Midnight.” And in a trio setting; Jack, Jim Ferguson on bass, and Jim White on drums.
Jack shows quickly he’s an excellent guitarist. “Night and Day” leads off, and he scoots around the changes with a sure hand and lots of imagination. That holds true for pretty much the whole album. The other impressive thing about his playing is the wonderful use of chords mixed with soloing. Sometimes it feels like there’s another guitarist in the room, but there’s not. A good example of that can be heard on “No Great Love.” There are a few originals, and they stand with the classics that are here. “Jake’s Tune” is a nice swinger with a great melody and some nice changes. Maybe it’s just me, but it puts me in a summery mood. The same goes for his “Rose Waltz,” which shows off his wonderful touch.
There are a couple of things I really like about the album; it sounds deceptively mellow, it has a great feel and it’s quiet. But a closer look shows how the players really burn, and nail the tunes. The though this is a trio setting, Jezzro doesn’t try to overplay. He knows where to leave room, and it really lets the songs breathe. I love this album. Check it out at hillsborojazz.com.
This review originally appeared in VG‘s Sep. ’01 issue.