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April 2005

The William Ash Trio
The Phoenix
Smalls

William Ash is so deeply immersed in a Wes Montgomery bag that he sounds like, to use Miles Davis' colorful analogy, he's wearing a pair of Wes' old drawers. On The Phoenix (Smalls), Ash plays in Montgomery's trademark thumb style on the swinging opener "Bill's Groove," on a soulful rendition of Lee Morgan's "The Sidewinder" and on his own "All in All" (based on "All The Things You Are"). Elsewhere, the onetime guitar prodigy-he worked steadily around New York at age 16 with saxophonist C Sharpe-burns a blue streak on Charlie Parker's "Constellation" and applies a graceful touch to the Rodgers and Hart standard "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" and to his own "Moon Shine." A reliably swinging, empathetic rhythm section of bassist Dwayne Burno and drummer Mark Taylor sets the table for Ash's six-string excursions on his impressive Stateside debut.

Originally published in April 2005
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