The Steve Rochinski Quartet

A Bird in the Hand

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A great straight-ahead jazz set from guitarist Steve Rochinski, backed up by pianist Bruce Thomas, bassist Scott Lee and drummer Joe Hunt, in varying combinations. The program is mostly standards-there's a fine, slightly twisted account of Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Dream" and a gently swinging bossa nova version of Jerome Kern's "Go Little Boat." Most interesting of all is the title track, on which Rochinski's overdubbed guitar parts play several of Charlie Parker's blues themes on top of each other. The most welcome item on the program is "House PartyStarting," a pleasantly skewed melody written by the criminally underappreciated Herbie Nichols-if you didn't read the track listing you might assume that the chromatically sideways tune was by Thelonious Monk (which illustrates one of the reasons Nichols has remained as obscure as he has). Rochinski, who has studied with the late Tal Farlow, plays with a sweet and resonant tone and effortlessly hip phrasing, deftly throwing in triplet runs and long strings of artificial harmonics at points where you least expect them. Excellent.

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