January/February 1999

Peter Almquist
Peter Almquist Trio with Horace Parlan
Storyville

There are so many jazz guitarists operating in the same general musical terrain that it takes something special for any one them to have a chance of standing out. In Almquist's case, his strongest suits are his warm sound and his strongly melodic phrasing. Too many guitarists (including some of the most celebrated) are really just stringing licks together. Two obvious exceptions, Jimmy Raney and Rene Thomas, seem so involved in their beautiful lines that they don't give attention to an attractive guitar sound. Almquist isn't quite in that class but he has the chance, and that sound is a big plus.

The program is strong, featuring originals by Almquist and Parlan, a couple of unusual standards, a Parker tune and a McCoy Tyner blues. I like the group, with Yasuhito Mori on bass and drummer Raymond Karlsson, and Parlan is predictably unpredictable. The drums seem a bit loud in the mix and the tunes tend to go on a bit which gives the listener a chance to catch on to Olmsquist's vocabulary enough to hear the wheels turning, but these are minor complaints. This is a swinging session and Almquist is a boy to watch.

Originally published in January/February 1999
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