Monday, June 26, 2017

Brad Myers and Michael Sharfe: Sanguinaria

Colloquy Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Colloquy

Although most jazz musicians are concentrated on the West and East coasts, some excellent artists and groups that operate in the Midwest. Guitarist Brad Myers and bassist Michael Sharfe are two of the best working in the Tri-State area.

Myers began studies on the piano when he was 6, switched to the guitar at 10, and fell in love with jazz at age 13. Originally from Washington, D.C., he moved to Cincinnati in 1994, where he studied at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music (CCM) on an honors scholarship; he ultimately received a master’s degree in jazz studies. He composes and arranges, and is also teaches. His first album, with the CCM Jazz Ensemble, was released in ’98, and he has been featured on 15 more since then.

Sharfe, another Tri-State alum, is a founding — and current — member of the legendary Blue Whisp Big Band; he also plays with a 16-piece Latin jazz ensemble. Both he and Myers are first-call artists for name groups and artists when visiting the Midwest.

This album features a wide assortment of genres and composers. Four tunes — “Sanguinaria,” “In from Somewhere,” “Norm’s Ridge” and “Bentley’s Blues” are Myers compositions. Gerry Mulligan’s “Line for Lyons” has always been one of my favorite charts; it’s played here as a quiet, mid-tempo swinger. Guitarist Jim Hall contributed “Waltz New,” while Keith Jarrett composed “Country.” Two other tunes — “In Your Own Sweet Way” and “The Great Pumpkin Waltz” — are by Dave Brubeck and Vince Guaraldi, respectively.

This is a lovely, softly swinging album: one that you’ll listen to again and again.

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