Southport Records, to their everlasting credit, continue to put to wax, now metal, the talents of very good, but not necessarily well-known outside the geographic area, Chicago musicians. Composer and educator, as well as performer, Dan McIntyre's maiden album, Hourglass is the epitome of relaxed, sophisticated jazz playing. Neither maudlin nor cloying, the itinerary of standards and two originals is classically interpreted and presented by cream of the crop professional musicians on intimate terms with the material and with each other's performing preferences and idiosyncrasies. McIntyre's romantic leanings come to the fore on several cuts from this session, but no more than on the not-too-oft recorded "That Sunday That Summer." McIntyre uses this piece to exhibit the balance he achieves between the plucked single string and heavier textures of chordal strumming. Songs done in a Latin tempo are stock in trade for guitar albums and that tempo is represented here with Toots Thielemans' "Bluesette" and A. C. Jobim's "Waters of March," with veteran percussionist Alejo Poveda carving out and sustaining the beat. The title track, McIntyre's own "Hourglass," is a blues where Dennis Luxion takes advantage of the opportunity to put his pianistic skills to work. The other McIntyre-penned tune, "Old Leprechaun" is done medium tempo and features a musical conversation between McIntyre's guitar and Phil Gratteau's snares. "Wendy," with a long bass opening chorus by Nick Schneider, is one of the highlights of the session as McIntyre slides in behind Schneider's opening. The session is not entirely limited to slower ballads; "Just One of Those Things" and "Falling in Love with Love" reveal McIntyre's swinging side. While hewing to the tradition of Herb Ellis and Barney Kessel, the influence of Joe Pass on McIntyre is apparent, especially with regard to the unique finger picking Pass approach, which allowed for decorative phrasing of standard material. McIntyre, amply aided and abetted by like minded stylists, is a fine guitar player and this album is recommended.
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan