Josh Workman

Jumpin' at the Border

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There are lots of jazz guitarists out there who can play in a Django Grappelli style, and many who can play bop or Latin jazz. But not many of them are equally comfortable in all of those styles, and that's just part of what makes Josh Workman very special as a guitarist and bandleader. He's no slouch as a composer, either, as the jittery, subtly Latin-flavored title track and his warmhearted Thelonious Monk tribute demonstrate. Of the remaining numbers on his debut as a leader, it's his arrangements of compositions by Brazilian writers that really stand out, in particular his gorgeous take on André Vítor Correa's "André de Sapato Novo" and his gypsified version of Vicente Garrido's "No Me Platiques Mas." Singer Kim Nalley makes a welcome appearance on several tracks and acquits herself nicely, though her version of "You're Driving Me Crazy" is just a little bit too laid-back for its own good. The album ends with a lovely solo guitar arrangement of "You're Blasé." Recommended.

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