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Review "Until it's Time"
(Review in the next Just Jazz Guitar issue)(Thanks Chip)

Jack Wilkins
Until It’s Time
Maxjazz (MXJ606)
Jack Wilkins guitar
Jon Cowherd piano/ organ
Steve LaSpina bass
Mark Ferber drums
Samuel Torres percussion
Jeff Barone guitar

When you ask a musician what do they think when they hear the name Jack Wilkins, you will more than likely hear the following phrases: “world-class musician”, “a great interpreter of songs”, “good tone”, “exceptional lines”, and “awesome technique”. Jack’s career over the last forty years has put him with some exclusive company and his solo recordings have always set the bar high for musicians (especially guitarists) to follow. This year Jack released his fifteenth CD as a leader titled Until It’s Time on the Maxjazz label.

On all of Jack’s CDs, he has surrounded himself with some of the best musicians in the world – this one is no different. Accompanying Jack on Until It’s Time is Jon Cowherd on piano and organ, Steve LaSpina on bass, and Mark Ferber on drums. Rounding out the sidemen are appearances by Samuel Torres on percussion and Jeff Barone handling rhythm guitar and producer duties. Also as he has done on every one of his past projects, Jack has picked a wonderful, and eclectic, set of music that spans from Beethoven to Broadway (and almost everything in between).

The CD opens up with a spirited reading of Burt Bachrach’s Arthur’s Theme and the Lerner and Loewe classic Show Me (from the musical My Fair Lady). After these two great performances, Jeff Barone’s acoustic guitar introduces the wonderful arrangement, and performance, of James Taylor’s Blossom (there are two versions on the CD – a short and extended take). Wilkins picks up the pace with Johnny Smith’s Walk Don’t Run. Wilkins and Cowherd are in sync as they flawlessly execute the bridge from Smith’s 1954’s album Moods, Moods, Moods (Roost 2215). Other highlights of this CD are the sensitive reading of These Foolish Things, an up-tempo Tico Tico, and the adaptation of Beethoven’s Fur Elise. Other compositions found on Until It’s Time include Airegin (Rollins), Lauro’s Waltz (Antonio Lauro), Two For The Road (Mancini), and Until It’s Time For You To Go (Buffy Sainte-Marie).

Wilkins has always been the consummate musician and his latest CD will no doubt become a favorite among musicians, especially guitarists. The selection of music is the perfect balance of time honored standards, classical, and modern/ commercial pieces. Finally, another reason this CD a must-have is the rapport among the musicians and their shared musical vision. Many of these guys have been performing and recording with Jack for over twenty years and it shows – they seem to be able to read each others mind. I have a few favorite Jack Wilkins recordings in my collection and Until It’s Time is right up there with them. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Chip Henderson