Following up on his ambitious Eric Dolphy tribute, Vic Juris returns to the basics: a straight-ahead guitar trio, playing all standards and jazz classics (save for Juris' title track). Songbook offers an especially clear and sustained look at the artist's approach to standard harmony. His rhythm section players, bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Jeff Hirshfield, give him expert support, as they've done over the course of several albums. Juris sounds decidedly Metheny-esque at times, but he makes even the most visited material his own, particularly "All the Things You Are," played as a duo with Hirshfield. In a new twist, Juris plays nylon-string acoustic guitar on "Luiza" and "Nuages," the latter a breathtaking duet with Anderson. He also offers an unaccompanied steel-string acoustic rendition of Bill Evans' "Time Remembered." This is certainly one of Juris' most representative recordings to date.
AllMusic Review by David R. Adler