For his debut album, Australian guitarist Jason Campbell leads a trio that also includes organist Col Nolan and drummer Andrew Dickeson on a program that cunningly combines elements of both the new and the old: few combo configurations are as traditional as this, but his repertoire is a mixture of jazz standards, original compositions, and unusual settings of pop standards like Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" and Janet Jackson's "Anytime, Anyplace." Rest assured that Campbell isn't trying to pawn off any kind of predigested jazz-pop fusion here -- his style is strictly straight-ahead, "funky" only in the jazz sense of the term, and firmly grounded in the playing of his heroes and teachers from the old school. It's just that the themes he chooses as the basis for his arrangements sometimes come from sources other than the Broadway and Tin Pan Alley books that have supplied most of the standard jazz repertoire. For most of the album he stays in a simmering, mid-tempo mode, imparting a gentle but insistent groove to "Don't Worry, Be Happy" and the Norah Jones hit "Don't Know Why." But on his own sweetly grooving "Dark Roast" and a wonderful rendition of Tadd Dameron's "Our Delight" (presented here in two separate takes), he puts a bit more steam behind the swing and the result is both muscular and lightly graceful. Overall, this is a very satisfying record from a talent who will bear watching in the future.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson