Miles High Records
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 11.05.09
Buy CD: World on a String
Over the years, many artists who “made their bones” with straight-ahead jazz have ventured into Latin water.
The two styles have many similarities, rhythmically and melodically, and that has encouraged artists from both schools to expand their musical fields. Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz (who moved “south”) and Claudio Rodeti and Arturo Sandoval (who came “north”) were some of the earlier pilgrims.
These days, it's hard to find a musician who isn't fluent in both styles.
Add guitarist Paul Meyers to that cadre. He began playing the piano at age 5, switched to violin at 7, and found his home with the guitar at 12. Like so many string artists, his early teaching was in the classics, but exposure to Wes Montgomery triggered the move to jazz.
Meyers attended the New England Conservatory of Music and ended up in New York City, where he has spent more than 20 years working with many name bands and vocalists.
One of this album's key goals was to meld Meyers' expertise in both jazz and Latin, to create a larger audience for his quintet; he succeeded. He's joined by Donny McCaslin on saxes and flute, Helio Elves on piano, Leo Traversa on electric bass, and Vanderlei Pereira on drums. The result is a neat, quiet, gently swinging group that produces some very nice “thinking-man” jazz.
It's great for your listening pleasure, and also makes nice background music.