Howard Alden / George Van Eps

Hand-Crafted Swing

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The master of the seven-string guitar, George Van Eps, joins the rising young jazz guitarist Howard Alden, which works perfectly in spite of a 45-year difference in age and different approaches to the guitar. Van Eps' chordal style meshes perfectly with Alden's single note lines in part because of the younger man's study of the senior's recordings and Alden's quick ear and gift for harmony. In any case, it was an obvious thrill for Alden to play with the experienced Van Eps, who literally invented the seven-string guitar (also played by Bucky Pizzarelli) and would soon be added to Alden's musical arsenal. The second of four CDs that they would make together prior to Van Eps' death in 1998, they play a mix of popular standards and show tunes from the 1930s, '40s and '50s. Highlights include a lyrical "What's New." a deliberate "I Could Write a Book," and an intricate "All the Things You Are," along with less frequently played chestnuts like the swinging "It's Wonderful." Van Eps is unaccompanied on both of his original compositions, "Lap Piano" and "Forty-Eight." Bassist Dave Stone and drummer Jake Hanna, who sticks to brushes, are present on most of the tracks.

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