Jazz guitarist Jake Hertzog holds nothing back on his new CD, Patterns from Bucky Ball Music. Joined by Victor Jones on drums and Harvie S on bass, Hertzog probes multiple nuances inherent in his guitar from the experimental inflections showcased in “Mcjazz” to the bluesy tonality of “Not Blues” and the romantically colored chords of “Her.” Hertzog eschews the rules at times turning into a wild child who manipulates chord changes that cruise into unpredictable directions forming dynamics which challenge his stamina and prowess as a guitarist.
Hertzog recently exhibited his talent at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City where guitarist Les Paul often held court. Iridium has indeed found their new presario. Like Les Paul, Hertzog blurs the line between rock guitar and jazz guitar. The slow, mellifluous swirls of “Wishfully” have a smooth jazz lure, which switch to a rippling rock-infused riff across “Joining Hands.” The crisscrossing lines of “Leaves Again” have a mellow versing that flows into soft, smoking riffs along “What’s New.” The tones have a dazzling sparkle that displays a chrome-like finish. Hertzog jumps from easy listening tunage like “Sun Lovers” to rip-roaring pickings across “Dipole” while Harvie S and Victor Jones put an application of funky grooves on the mix. Hertzog closes the album with his finest material, the bluesy ethers of “Georgia On My Mind” followed by the flashy mobility of his fretwork across “I Love You.”
If there is such a place as power pop jazz, Hertzog is driving his material in that direction. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music in 2007 and the Grand Prize Winner of the Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition in 2006 held in Switzerland, Hertzog’s album shows other aspects and possibilities of the guitar then what has been commonly displayed. His album Patterns is the follow up to his debut release Chromatosphere and further embeds Hertzog in the domain of jazz fusion.
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