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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Back to the Bridge

Emdan Music 820360144325



1. Silver and Gold
2. Oh, Look at Me Now
3. Joy Spring
4. Back to the Bridge
5. Good Old Days
6. A Beautiful Friendship
7. Yatsanu At (We Left Slowly)
8. Between Jobs
9. I've Never Been in Love Before
10. The Smudge

Dan Adler - Guitar
Joey DeFrancesco - Organ
Byron Landham - Drums


Another day, another organ trio. But this one has the benefit of one of today's foremost jazz organists - Joey DeFrancesco - and his usual drummer, Byron Landham. The leader is Dan Adler, an Israeli guitarist who emigrated to New York and started making a name for himself with his debut album All Things Familiar.

The opening Silver and God is an up-tempo tribute to Horace Silver written by Dan Adler and it matches the excitement of Silver's best small-group recordings of the fifties and sixties. Dan Adler tends to play single lines, leaving Joey DeFrancesco to fill in the chords and Byron Landham to accentuate the beat. Joey's bass pedals supply a swinging bass and his playing is as fleet-fingered as ever.

Joe Bushkin's Oh, Look at Me Now takes the tempo down to an easy bounce, with Adler stating the lovely tune and improvising spaciously. Joy Spring gives an unusual spacing to the melody, speeding up the last bars of each measure. Joey's backing for Dan's solo is discreet, keeping the beat on the bass pedals but simply interjecting a few chords to add spice.

Adler wrote four of the numbers on the album - including the title-track, an easy-going swinger. Joey's solo here is classic DeFrancesco: hopping around the keyboard as though it's the most natural thing in the world to be so dextrous. Adler's other compositions are the graceful waltz Good Old Days and the Latinate Between Jobs.

Byron Landham starts off A Beautiful Friendship with swirling drums but it turns into a regular swinger showcasing Adler's educated guitar and DeFrancesco's forthright Hammond B-3. Unfortunately Landham's drum fours sound disorganised, as if the group needed to record a second take. Yatsanu At is a melancholy Israeli folk tune. Its measured rumination makes a change from the high-flying spirit of most other tracks, and at times it sounds rather like September Song crossed with the theme from the film Dr Zhivago.

The last two tracks swing in different ways: I've Never Been in Love Before hot and mobile, The Smudge leisurely and groovy. Note how, in the former, Joey picks up the end of Dan's guitar solo at the start of his own solo, and echoes Dan's oblique references to The Surrey with the Fringe on Top. The publicity quotes Dan Adler's aim of including "logical lines, dramatic development and band interaction along with some excitement". That is precisely what this album offers.

Tony Augarde

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