Greg Diamond: Naufrage
Greg Diamond (guitar)
Dancando Com Ale (Chasm)
Greg Diamond (guitar),
Seamus Blake (tenor sax), Brian Hogans (saxes), Emilio Solla (piano), Edward Perez (bass), Ferenc Nemeth (drums), Arturo Stable (percussion).
Composed by Greg Diamond.
Recorded: Hampton, NJ, December 9, 2007
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
New York City jazz guitarist Greg Diamond lists his influences on MySpace. He cites Coltrane, Monk, Powell, Davis, et al. He also mentions such great Latin jazz stars as Santamaria, Pascoal and Machito. The CD's song titles also gave me the distinct impression that I was about to hear another heavy display of Latin jazz. It is a genre I can have a bit of difficulty with, to be honest with you. The overriding Latin influence that is necessarily the keystone to that music makes a lot of it sound the same to me. That's something I have to work on. But I think I can still tell good music from bad.
Well, after that worrisome preamble, I discovered that Dancando Com Ale contains straightforward progressive jazz in the mold of the iconic American influences Diamond mentioned on MySpace. There is certainly a Latin tradition percolating throughout, heard especially in Arturo Stable's percussion. But the soloing in "Naufrage" is all from the Northern jazz tradition. This makes for quite an interesting opposition. Diamond's playing is a mixture of Pat Metheny with a hint of Wes Montgomery if he had played through modern equipment. This makes sense as Metheny himself owes a lot to Montgomery. (He will gladly tell you so.) On "Naufrage," the melody strangely turns slightly mid-Eastern. Diamond uses a good amount of reverb to get his point across. This allows his arpeggios to hang in the air. His solo, presented over a Latin beat, is an impressive display of dexterity, scalar knowledge and taste. The liner notes make no distinction as to whether saxophonists Blake and Hogans appear alone or together on the cut. At any rate, there is some fine sax playing here as well. This is music conceived and played at a very high level that warrants and deserves further attention.
One of the best things you can say about music is that it surprised you. I am used to hearing a lot of good musicians. There are so many. So it was not unexpected that this music is good. But I was still surprised because I was thrown off by the song titles. I should've known better than to judge a CD by its playlist.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky