Sonic Reducer

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Stan Hirsch doesn’t need anything fancy. He can take a beat-up guitar and an amp on its last legs and produce the best blues music in Albuquerque. The recording process for Compelled To Play consisted of Hirsch sitting down, picking up his guitar and playing. He didn’t attempt multiple takes or add backing tracks—nothing that would compromise the live feel of his record. Hirsch is a beast on the guitar, acoustic or electric, and his respect for honest, unfiltered craftsmanship runs deep. Whether reinterpreting Robert Johnson or fingerpicking through one of his moody originals, Hirsch’s intimate understanding of his six-stringed companion is on full display. (SM)

Edward Simon Trio Poes’a (CamJazz)

The Venezuelan pianist and his breathtaking rhythm section (John Patitucci, bass; Brian Blade, drums) create spellbinding concert hall jazz—i.e., music deserving a large, attentive audience. Though complex and often intense, the music goes down smoothly thanks to a deep, sweet lyricism and dancing grooves. Simon reveals a Chopinesque romanticism tinged with tango in his solo opener and closer, “My Love for You,” but he also writes riffs that Monk would be proud of (“One for J.P.”). The boys slide-step beautifully into Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” the only non-original. Throughout, the trio moves instinctively toward light in this beautiful flowering of jazz. (MM)

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