Saturday, August 30, 2014

George Cotsirilos Trio: Variations

OA2 Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Variations

Jazz guitarist George Cotsirilos is well known in Northern California, whether as a member of the San Francisco Nighthawks, a sideman for artists such as Pharaoh Sanders and Eddie Marshall, or an accompanist for vocalists such as Etta James and The Whispers. Cotsirilos is joined on this album by bassist Robb Fisher and drummer Ron Marabuto; together they’re as smooth and swinging a group as you’re likely to hear. These 10 tunes, mostly Cotsirilos originals, are a pleasant mix of straight-ahead jazz and Latin-tinged melodies. 

Fisher probably is the best known of these three artists; he worked with Cal Tjader’s group for a number of years, and also played with luminaries such as Chet Baker, Art Pepper and Anita O’Day. Marabuto has played with Pepper Adams, Roland Hanna and Tommy Flanagan, and regularly is heard at Bay Area clubs such as Yoshi’s and Jazz at Pearls. Those two provide a solid underpinning for Cotsirilos.

The entire album is fine, but special mention is due the treatment given the well-known standard “But Beautiful.” If you aren’t moved by this one, you aren’t paying attention! 

This is the kind of group that would make you smile, the moment you walked in the door of a club or restaurant where they were featured.

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