Paul Meyers, guitar & Santi Debriano, bass – Spirit and Samba – Mapleshade Productions

by | Oct 19, 2006 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Paul Meyers, guitar & Santi Debriano, bass – Spirit and Samba – Mapleshade Productions  09832, 57:12 ****:

I once recorded a guitar-cello jazz duo and so was very interested in this rather unusual duo of guitar and bass without drums. NYC-based Paul Meyers studied with Gene Bartoncini and Jackie Byard, and Bartoncini has recorded as a duo with bassist Michael Moore, as well as in the trio configuration.  Meyers committed himself to jazz at age 17 and his heroes were Django, Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery – all influences to be heard in this ten tracks.

Debriano is from Panama, played in Paris for 14 years, and has studied world music and ethnomusicology. He has played with Larry Coryell, Hank Jones and Freddie Hubbard among others.  The clarity, presence and deep bass extension of both instruments will be immediately noticed on this CD. Mapleshade’s alternative purist approach records on two-track analog tape with minimum miking and minimum-length cabling, and avoids any mixing, compression, EQ-ing, filtering or noise reduction. The left channel of this superb disc will show up any lack of smooth transition from your main speaker to your subwoofer.  Just listen closely as Debriano races up and down those low frequencies – if there’s a dip or peak in there you’ll know it.

The samba in the CD title is a bit misleading – although Meyers has studied and plays Brazilian jazz, only a couple of the tracks are actually that sort of thing. The Spirit part comes from the opening and closing tracks, and the duo’s version of Amazing Grace is certainly a fresh and lovely one. Debriano uses his bow quite a bit on this session, getting some very deep, rich-sounding effects. On Blues for Me! he really cuts loose and swings mightily, as does Meyers. This is a keeper. If you have trouble finding, try

Tracks: Amazing Grace, Woody ‘n’ You, Lament, Circle Chant, For Heaven’s Sake, Lazy Afternoon, Blues for Me!, Some Other Spring, Passarim, My Lord What a Beautiful Morning

 – John Henry 

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