Various Artists

The Guitar Session

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There's no clear leader on this interesting session from around 1980, which features guitarists Jay Berliner and Richard Resnicoff with the far-better-known Toots Thielemans (who also doubles on harmonica) and Gene Bertoncini, with an all-star septet conducted and arranged by Chico O'Farrill. Things get off to a promising start with a swinging take of "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" with everything flowing smoothly. Each of the musicians except Thielemans contributed an original composition, which is surprising, since Thielemans is the best-known composer of the four with the huge hit "Bluesette." Alto saxophonist Frank Wess (who doubles on flute) wrote three of the songs, including the snappy "Guitarus." Another gem of this date is a crisp interpretation of Ernesto Lecuona's "Malaguena." The strong supporting cast also includes Roland Hanna, Seldon Powell, Mario Rivera, Joe Newman, George Duvivier, and Richard Pratt. It's a shame that no one thought to add liner notes to explain how this recording came about. Long out of print since the folding of Inner City, jazz guitar fans will want to search for this rewarding LP.