July/August 2005

Roland Guerin
Groove, Swing & Harmony II
Mambo Maniacs

Seldom does a CD title so accurately convey the purpose and direction of a session than Roland Guerin's latest release. First, there aren't many contemporary bassists better at establishing and maintaining a groove than Guerin, a master of the slap technique and an equally outstanding accompanist. These pieces showcase his penchant for penning works with a swinging undertone, but his songs always contain sections that challenge and motivate soloists to extend themselves. Examples of this trend can be heard in the torrid and gorgeous solo from alto saxophonist Wess Anderson on "Alone Together," and his tenor counterpart Quamon Fowler, who is featured on three of the nine numbers.

Skip Bolen

Roland Guerin

While there are several fine guest musicians participating in the session, such as drummers Jason Marsalis and Troy Davis, percussionist Calvin Veal and keyboardist Mike Esneault, it's often Guerin's alternately sweeping and stately bass lines and solos that emerge as the most musically appealing elements. Guerin appropriately wraps the session with "Chase N' Morgan," a work that's equal parts marvelous technique, gritty rhythm and sparkling soul. The piece spotlights the bassist's expertise and excellence that permeate every number on this disc.

Originally published in July/August 2005

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