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July/August 2004

Vic Juris Trio
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
SteepleChase

Even without hearing a note of his While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Steeple-chase), jazz guitar fans can commend Vic Juris for his taste. In what amounts to a personal, informal tribute to his fellow players, Juris has assembled a connoisseur's choice of material written by notable jazz guitarists, with the single exception of the George Harrison song that gives the recording its title. While My Guitar Gently Weeps moves easily from the modal fusion of John McLaughlin's "Do You Hear the Voices You Left Behind?" to John Abercrombie's atmospheric "Ladies Choice" to the easy swing of Wes Montgomery's "Road Song." Juris' unfailing taste extends to his own playing and to his choice of sidemen on this convincingly played, very impressive recording.

Though stylistically closer to the fusion-touched Larry Young organ groups, Juris' organ trio seems (temperamentally at least) more closely aligned with the spacious, airy sound of John Abercrombie's organ trio. Juris doesn't shout for attention here. He instead offers one well-constructed solo after another and lets the listener come to him. In organist Jesse Chandler and drummer Tim Horner, he's found sidemen every bit as lithe and unassuming as he is. Chandler's canny solos and support make him an especially apt partner for Juris and a brilliant addition to this music. The trio always delivers, but the felicitous readings of Jim Hall's brainy "Careful" and Dave Stryker's smoldering "Magenta" really stand out.

Originally published in July/August 2004
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