Tim Welvaars

Trans Atlantic Cool Down

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If you didn't know better you'd swear this was a '60s collaboration of Toots Thielemans, Milt Jackson, and Wes Montgomery. That never happened, but chromatic harmonica player Welvaars, vibist Eldad Tarmu, and guitarist Joe Gaeta echo the sentiments of those three jazz giants. The difference is that they are playing original music, each sharing the writing chores on select cuts, and those compositions are reflective of a '60s post-bop to cool jazz aesthetic. Bassist Bill Markus and drummer Steve Sykes do a credible job with the rhythms asked for. The ostensible leader, Welvaars, wrote the upbeat harmonica/vibes unison line of "Point of No Return," the love samba "In Your Eyes," and fast uni-bopper "Tim's Tune" with lots of bowed bass in the bridge, traded fours with Sykes, and a stance à la "Donna Lee" or "Harold's House Of Jazz." Gaeta, the most well known bandmate, contributes the split kick harmonica/vibes very easy bluesy swinger with guitar sub-melody "Ode For Dan" (Bagasao), quick tempo "Joe's Bag," and the title cut, which is a sprightly waltz with occasional 5/4 inserts in the melody. Tarmu's pieces include the quick bossa "Sweet Reminders" with refrains of "Girl From Ipanema" and "Can't Buy Me Love," the ballad samba "Her Story," and easy blues swing "The Onyx," similar to "Ode for Dan." All of these tunes are melodic, easily listenable, and somewhat predictable. The closer is Horace Silver's "Peace" with Welvaars and Gaeta only. Attaining a personal voice, especially on instruments with established parameters by past masters, is difficult to achieve. These gentlemen of the current modern mainstream have some fine music to offer on this recording, and it is hoped that they can grow into solid inventors of music that someday display their own more personalized stamp. This is a fine starting point.