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Adam Rafferty Trio: Three Souls

Adam Rafferty plays guitar like a fine watercolorist, something that’s apparent from the first track of Three Souls (Consolidated Artists Productions), which features 11 original compositions. More than ably supported by drummer Tomas Fujiwara and bassist Danton Boller, he leaves plenty of white space and knows how to balance light and shadow. Rafferty’s sense of color is keen, and his brush strokes usually outline only what necessary. In short, he’s a minimalist with chops. Perhaps most important, Rafferty knows how to establish a mood. For instance, during “America,” an anthemic paean to 9/11, his guitar is almost invisible as you’re carried away by the overall vibe and his melodic grace. The same goes for the program’s two blues, “Blues for Wes and George” and “Blues for My Shoes,” which swing without being blatant and benefit from his light but confident touch. Even the more uptempo numbers like “Crimson” and the title track have a tasteful spaciousness as Rafferty spins out active lines that are deft but not overly notey. And when he does improvise himself into a corner, he has a way of turning what in many hands would be a misstep into an advantage. There’s an artfulness present in this music that’s rare in a guitarist and recalls Bruce Lee’s philosophy of “fighting without fighting.” Here’s betting that Adam Rafferty’s playing and music will leave you wanting to hear more.

Originally Published