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Review "Until it's Time"
JACK WILKINS "
Until It's Time" (MaxJazz) (Jazz Times Magazine)
If guitarist Jack Wilkins intended to convey his deep appreciation for all the composers represented on his latest release, mission accomplished. Whether its a triple-meter treat from Lerner and Loewe or a sunny pop offering from James Taylor, a vibrant re-imagining of Beethoven's "Fur Elise" or a soulful reprise of Sonny Rollins' "Airegin," a performance tenderly blue ("These Foolish Things") or delightfully baroque ("Walk Don't Run"), Wilkins makes a strong case for each of the tunes on Until It's Time and he does it with a signature blend of clarity, swing, lyricism and harmonic finesse.
Of course, it helps that the veteran guitarist is surrounded by musicians with whom he has a close rapport. The arrangements of "Two for the Road" and "Show Me," for example, wouldn't be nearly so enjoyable if it weren't for keyboardist Jon Cowherd's inspired handiwork, and certainly bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer Mark Ferber make for a powerful pairing during the choro interlude inspired by "Tico Tico" and other tracks. With his fluid runs, raked triplets and popping tone, Wilkins infuses the uptempo tunes with a bright vitality, then artfully shifts the mood and tempo with ballads or passages that reveal the more sublime aspects of his artistry.
As it turns out, the album's title cut, Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Until It's Time for You to Go," arranged for organ and acoustic guitar, is a curious, retro-ish departure. Yet once again Wilkins has no trouble making the most of the melody, allowing it to hover in the air. MIKE JOYCE