The Vampires Meet Lionel Loueke, (Earshift); Yotam Silberstein, "The Village" (Jazz & People)
Exotic but juicy jazz guitar music of diametrically opposite climate is on these two superb new jazz guitar records.
The wonderful jazz guitarist Lionel Loueke was one of the more delightful to appear in the last couple of decades of irreplaceable "Art of Jazz" concerts at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. He was born in the West African nation of Benin, educated in Paris and has been featured on jazz records of all sorts from the likes of Herbie Hancock to Gretchen Parlato and Robert Glasper. He sings, plays acoustic guitar and electric guitar and is, says Hancock, a "musical painter." His meeting with the Australian jazz group The Vampires is richly rewarding and fanciful jazz of a sort that has no interest whatsoever in being "geezer music" or background music for white wine and cheese. The Vampires seldom play without a chordal instrument which Loueke honors by providing all kinds of unexpected shadings and counterpoint. A happy bit of international jazz.
Yotam Silberstein is a post-rock jazz guitarist from Tel Aviv who was first taken under the wing of venerable saxophonist James Moody in the states and has lived in Greenwich Village for the last 10 years. His quartet on "The Village" pays tribute to his new home as well, he says, as to "the fact that the world has become one global village, which has enabled easy access through the Internet and social media to different styles of music and musicians from all over the world." On his fifth record, Silberstein is recording with an ace band of current jazz pros -- pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Greg Hutchinson. His music can sound as Brazilian sometimes as Loueke's. But so too do some of his compositions sound like very creative Chick Corea. A great young jazz guitarist it would be terrific to hear live in Buffalo.
3 stars (out of four) for Loueke
3 1/2 stars (out of four) for Silberstein