Paul Meyer’s Quartet featuring Frank Wess – Miles High Records, MHR 8609, 65:50 *****:
(Paul Meyers – acoustic nylon string guitar; Frank Wess – tenor saxophone & flute; Martin Wind – acoustic bass; Tony Jefferson – drums; Andy Bey – vocal on track 5)
Guitarist Paul Meyers grew up influenced by his mother, a classical singer and father, a studio and orchestral trombonist. Paul started out at age five with piano, changed later to violin and at age 12 settled on guitar. His initial studies were classical but moved through rock, blues, Django and as a teen settled on jazz in general. The music of Wes Montgomery mentored him. He gained extensive schooling in music from 1974 through 1979 at Crane School of Music and New England Conservatory of Music. In 1980 Paul moved to New York and studied with Gene Bertoncini and Jackie Byard. He went on to play with many great performers such as Ron Carter, Eddie Gomez, Wynton Marsalis, Frank Wess and others as well as the Woody Herman Orchestra. Paul toured with Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, Andy Bey, and Susannah McCorkle.
Paul Meyers Quartet featuring Frank Wess is a great presentation by tried and true jazz musicians. The general sound of the album is on the quiet elegant jazz style. Something must be said about nonagenarian Frank Wess being involved on this session. He has been in the jazz community and music about 70 years which included a number of years with Count Basie. He has remained active in jazz in the New York area in this decade. He is attributed to making the flute a popular solo instrument in the big bands and orchestras. We get a generous serving of jazz flute in this presentation as well as his tenor sax.
The quartet plays many known standards. “Snibor”, a Billy Strayhorn composition swings out in a moderate carefree style with Paul Meyers playing chords with a decided Wes Montgomery sound. Each musician takes a solo while the others play backup. Martin Wind is walking the bass keeping time while the others solo and then takes a solo line himself. “Blue Lanturn” is a composition of Paul Meyers and has a faster beat. Frank Wess on flute trades off call and response with Paul Meyers presenting great upbeat jazz guitar. Wind and Jefferson keep the rhythm and take solos as well. “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” is delightful with a bossa nova beat, again with Frank on flute. “One for Miss D” changes to an upbeat tempo. “Lazy Afternoon” is a quiet gentle sound of guitar and bass accompanying vocalist Andy Bey to make a lazy afternoon pleasant. “Menage a Bleu”, a Frank Wess composition is just plain cool! A sort of down-home bluesy tune. “Just One of Those Things” starts with a quick moving intro of snare drum by Tony Jefferson and followed by each of the other musicians taking solos. The album finishes out with “I Cover the Waterfront,” made fairly famous by Billie Holiday.
Paul Meyers Quartet featuring Frank Wess left me with a pleasant and enjoyable time of music. It is well executed by the musicians with varying rhythms that I find is the key to any good album. The sound quality is good and up front. I see it as really good music for entertaining as well as just for fun.
2. Blue Lanturn
3. In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
4. One For Miss D.
5. Lazy Afternoon
6. Menage a Bleu
7. Just One of Those Things
8. My One and Only Love
9. Who Cares?
10. I Cover the Waterfront
— Tim Taylor