Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Jake Hertzog: “Throwback” (2013) CD Review

Jake Hertzog is a phenomenal guitarist who combines jazz and rock music on his trio albums. His latest release, Throwback, features Randy Brecker joining the group on trumpet and flugelhorn on most tracks. It’s an excellent album, full of masterful and joyous playing by all four musicians. Harvie S is on bass, and Victor Jones is on drums. You might know Victor Jones from his own band, Culture-Versy, or from his work with Stan Getz. Harvie S has also worked with Stan Getz, as well as many other artists over the years, including Steve Kuhn. These are musicians who are at the top of their game, and have an obvious passion for what they do. And you can hear it on every track of Throwback. All of these tracks are originals, written by Jake Hertzog.

The CD’s first track, “All Over Now,” opens like the guys have already been playing a while and are about to settle into a really sweet groove, which they do. The band wastes no time, and Randy Brecker’s lead on horn has a kind of sweet beauty, setting the way for some thoughtful playing by Jake Hertzog at the beginning of his lead guitar section. And then things get really delicious. I love that this tune is exploratory without being messy. If you’re into really great jam music, you should check out this tune (and the entire album, actually). Moments of this track remind me of, say, the very best of what Phish does during an epic jam. I love this track.

It’s interesting that Jake Hertzog’s opening lead part on guitar on “Cleared To Fly” sort of serves as a base for Randy Brecker’s horn to play over. I love that guitar part. And the rhythm section of this song makes it one to get you dancing. Harvie S and Victor Jones are really cooking here. There are some wild moments of unrestrained joy especially as it builds to the end. And then on “Entropy,” there is a section a few minutes in where Hertzog and Brecker are doing a little give-and-take. It’s fantastic, and is done over an absolutely wonderful groove, all then building to something wild and alive.

“Hands On” is one of my personal favorite tracks on this CD. The sense of play is enchanting, and the guitar work is so impressive, even mesmerizing at moments. This track is the trio, and all three musicians really shine here. I especially love when the bass emerges out of this explosion to take a lead spot.

“Sending Home” begins as a slow, quiet, mellow piece, and Brecker’s horn provides an emotional voice rising up first as if in supplication or hope, and then in rapture at its own power. This track is truly moving, uplifting and beautiful at times.

Throwback ends with its title track , a bright-feeling tune with a good rhythm. This track just makes me feel good, and I love what Brecker does here.

CD Track List

  1. All Over Now
  2. Cleared To Fly
  3. Is It Summer
  4. Entropy
  5. Hands On
  6. Sending Home
  7. Sweet Moon
  8. First To Rise
  9. Throwback 

Throwback was released on November 12, 2013 through Zoho Music.

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