This is the first of two CDs issued by Concord Jazz compiling some of the best tracks from Emily Remler's sessions for that label. Cut short at a far too early age by a heart condition while touring in Australia, Remler had all the talent necessary to carve herself a niche in the jazz world as a premier jazz guitar interpreter and performer. Retrospective, Vol. 1 is probably the superior of the two volumes, as it includes, among other gems, an enticing unaccompanied rendition of "Afro Blue." Remler had the ability to be expressively warm with a romantic ballad, as on "In a Sentimental Mood," but she excelled on tunes that allowed her to bring out her hard bop credentials, especially in the company of similarly tough-minded rhythm sections. She displays those credentials on several tracks, such as "Hot House" and "Daahoud," where she is joined by the inestimable Hank Jones on piano and Marvin "Smitty" Smith on drums. "Del Sasser" is the sole representative from that intriguing album she made with trumpet player John D'earth. On this cut, D'earth plays muted trumpet under a clean, straight-lined Remler guitar with a rather unusual scrimpy, but pleasing, sound as the result. Indeed an appropriate testimonial to a fine guitarist, this album is recommended for those who want an overview of the work by Remler without having to buy all the albums from whence the selections came.
Retrospective, Vol. 1: Standards Review
by Dave Nathan