Jake Hertzog: In Your Own Sweet Way
In Your Own Sweet Way
Jake Hertzog (guitar)
Chromatosphere (That's Out Records TOR 001)
Recorded: West Orange, NJ, October 2008
Rating: 93/100 (learn more)
Jake Hertzog can perhaps best be described as a hybrid guitar player. In this case, Hertzog blurs the lines between jazz and blues/rock in a way that I haven't heard before. His guitar sound is distinctively, almost annoyingly, heavily treble in tone. He seems to favor playing a solid-bodied Fender Telecaster through an old Fender tube amplifier. The combination gives little depth or timbre to his sound. Despite the limits set by his choice of tone, Hertzog is the real deal on many levels. His musings are not of a pyrotechnic nature; instead he relies on harmonically challenging expansions. You can never be sure where he's heading, as he fearlessly blazes his own trail and ultimately pulls it all together, creating interesting and original music along the way.
Hertzog is joined by the versatile bassist Harvie S, who seems to enjoy the guitarist's path and can equally explore the harmonic boundaries when his intuition prods him. Onetime Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz drummer Victor Jones is listed as a longtime friend, and his symbiotic playing within Hertzog's at-times-disjointed melody lines is apparent.
On Dave Brubeck's classic "In Your Own Sweet Way," Hertzog effectively deconstructs the classic melody and rebuilds it in his own sweet way. Giving the song a whole new feel, he deploys numerous single-lined note progressions that are fresh and unpredictable. He occasionally lapses into tasty blues-oriented riffs for good measure, and finishes his solo with a crescendo-building chordal progression that follows a sinewy but clear path to its tension-building peak. When Harvie S solos at about 5 minutes into the song, obviously inspired by the young guitarist's unorthodox projections, he creates an equally counterintuitive bass statement from his own imagination. Jones wisely plays in an understated, complementary way. Hertzog ends the tune with a rock-like repetitive chord progression to a fadeout.
Among the innumerable versions of this song performed by countless artists, Hertzog's is one of the most original I have heard. Simply a marvelous cover.
Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello