by Willard Manus
Exquisite is the word that best describes the musicianship on LANDS END, the new CD by vibraphonist Charlie Shoemaker and pals. Shoemaker's virtuosity shines through on all eleven cuts, thanks to his clean, rich sound and innate love of harmony. That he can also swing is another bonus, plus the fact that his equally-gifted collaborators (Bruce Forman on guitar and Bob Maize on bass) are completely in synch with him.
To hear them on "It
Happened in Monterey," the old Frank Sinatra ballad," is a case
in point. Each man blends with the other so perfectly that they sometimes
sound like one, only to step up when it's time to solo and make strong
Charles McPherson joins the trio on several occasions,
"I've felt for years that being on the West Coast seems to make us second class in the eyes of the jazz media, but I know we play as well as anyone," Shoemaker said. "These guys are some of the greatest in the country, they're all my friends, and I'm proud they're on the album."
Bassist Luther Hughes
and drummer Paul Kreibich flesh out the roster on
(Chase Music Group, 800-724-2730, www.chasemusic.com)