December 2001

Jack Jezzro
Jazz Elegance
Hillsboro Jazz

While using the nylon-string guitar in jazz isn't exactly unheard of, it's fairly rare, which in itself makes Jack Jezzro somewhat of a unique figure. Here, backed by a tight rhythm section featuring bassist Jim Ferguson (no relation) and drummer Jim White, the Nashville-based guitarist tackles a mix of standards and originals. An undeniably fine guitarist, Jezzro plays with taste and finesse, integrating single-notes and chords in ways that are well phrased and connected, something that is apparent throughout this recording but especially telling on tunes like "No Greater Love," "Dancing on the Ceiling" and "Prelude to a Kiss." Yet despite his admirable qualities, something gets lost between the coolness of his playing and the conservative nature of his vocabulary. The upshot is that there are very few, if any moments, that could be described as spontaneous or exciting, something that is evident throughout the set but attains a particularly curious level of irony on Monk's "'Round Midnight," written by a musician who made a career out of doing the unexpected.

So while Jezzro's music is nice in a lot of ways and isn't smooth jazz or saccharine drivel, it also isn't particularly adventurous, daring or creative.

Originally published in December 2001
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