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January/February 2003

Jesse Van Ruller
Here and There
Criss Cross Jazz

Jesse Van Ruller is a 30-year-old Dutch guitarist who, by his own admission, normally plays his own compositions. However, on Here and There (Criss Cross), with the exception of one original, he leads his quartet through a program of standards almost as if he were jamming to an Aebersold play-along recording. Make no mistake: Van Ruller is a good player with lots of chops, but overall there's not a whole lot that distinguishes him from the seemingly countless other jazz guitarists out there. Cases in point include his performances of "The Best Things in Life Are Free," "In Walked Bud" and "Cedar's Blues," which show that he knows how to run changes, but for the most part are a bit stiff and emotionally flat. Van Ruller might be worth keeping an eye on, but right now it would be advisable to find something else to write home about.

Originally published in January/February 2003
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