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January/February 2006

Mark Whitfield
Trio Paradise
Vega

After delving into edgier funk and fusion terrain (heavy on guitar effects), Mark Whitfield revisits old familiar territory on this dynamic set of jazz standards with the highly interactive rhythm section of bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Donald Edwards. Demonstrating a warm, pure tone and a driving, single-note style, Whitfield burns brightly on uptempo numbers like "Invitation," a sprightly "Willow Weep for Me" and a blazing "The Way You Look Tonight." His take on Gershwin's "The Man I Love" and Jobim's "gorgeous "Chega De Saudade" show a profound sense of maturity in his relaxed phrasing.

Unaccompanied acoustic guitar readings of Ray Noble's "The Very Thought of You" and Jimmy McHugh's "Too Young to Go Steady" also reveal new layers of depth in Whitfield's formidable six-string arsenal. The guitarist also revisits his own "Medgar Evers' Blues," which appeared on his very promising debut as leader 15 years ago, The Marksman. (Trio Paradise came out in Japan and is available in the U.S. only through markwhitfield.com.)

Originally published in January/February 2006
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