Joe Jewell

Every Note Counts [Limited Edition]

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A rather subdued album of guitar-based jazz, this one gets its feel largely from the use of nylon strings on the guitar of Joe Jewell, a guitar professor in Fullerton (Southern California). The performances pay tribute to a series of great jazz guitarists, all with a good emphasis laid on the technical aspects of playing the pieces near perfectly (as the title would suggest). The album opens with a Big Jim Hall number, followed immediately by a piece made famous by Wes Montgomery (which, while laying out a funky groove in the '80s vein gives bassist Baba Elefante an opportunity for a fine, drawn out solo on the electric fretless). A bit of classical guitar is included as tribute to Jewell's other aspects of training, but the rest of the album is largely from the songbook to some degree or another: Cole Porter, Lerner & Loewe, and more. The playing is fine throughout, but not really anything to be terribly excited about. Songs are given a new look as Wes is turned to a piece of '80s funk, Monk is turned to a samba, often without really paying the right amount of attention to the intricacies of converting a classic from one genre into another. The focus has to go back to the playing of the quartet, which is technically well-done, but just not always fitting with where the songs demand.

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