Adam Rafferty

Kush

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Adam Rafferty's first trio release is a big step forward. Joined by bassist Danton Boller and drummer Russ "Styles" Dibona, he makes a point of showcasing his rich guitar tone, which sings even more clearly in the absence of a piano. Having absorbed important lessons in rhythm from his mentor, Mike Longo, Rafferty delights in uncovering the polyrhythmic secrets embedded in the 12/8 vamp of Dizzy Gillespie's "Kush." He has no problem playing John Coltrane's "Countdown" in 5/4, or dealing with the tricky 6/4 boogaloo of Mike Longo's "Frisco." (On the former he overdubs a subtle dumbek part; it's barely there but it makes a big difference.) Rafferty's more lyrical side comes through on Gillespie's "Con Alma," Chick Corea's "Windows," and Jobim's "O Grande Amor." Even when he's swinging fast on a tune like "Oleo," there's a certain mellowness to his playing, and this quality is highlighted very effectively in the uncluttered trio setting.

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