Guitarist Vic Juris triumphs again on Songbook 2, aided by bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Jeff Hirshfield. Like its predecessor, this album features mainly standards and jazz classics, with one Juris original -- the melodic, modulating waltz "One True Friend" -- thrown in for good measure. Juris' tone is modern but woody and full-bodied, leaping out in the mix. Formanek, taking over for Jay Anderson, supports Hirshfield's animated rhythms with a massive yet limber bass sound. Juris leads off with "Long Ago and Far Away" -- which happens also to be the opener on Adam Rogers' Art of the Invisible, released around the same time (the two versions are worth hearing back to back). Other highlights include John Lewis' "Django," Scott LaFaro's "Gloria's Step," and John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," as well as oft-overlooked items like "You Won't Forget Me" (played on acoustic guitar), "Golden Earrings," and Thelonious Monk's "Locomotive."
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AllMusic Review by David R. Adler