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David Ullmann: Hidden

A former student of guitar greats Vic Juris, Peter Bern-stein and Gene Bertoncini, David Ullmann debuts as a leader on Hidden. His use of tabla and Fender Rhodes on the angular title track and on “Make Believe” hint at some freshness in the proceedings. But his guitar playing is more workmanlike than inspired throughout, and his compositions are hardly compelling.

An overly sentimental “Memory Games” (his answer to John Lennon’s “Mind Games”) is painfully naive, and he turns in a lifeless rendition of “You Don’t Know What Love Is.” Ullmann does score some points for originality with the drum ‘n’ bass-flavored “Lorca” and his relaxed playing in a soul-jazz bag is acceptable, if not killing, on “Astor Place” and on the boogaloo closer, “Hightime.” This is hardly what I’d call an auspicious debut. Next time out, maybe Ullmann will dig deeper and blow with more conviction and abandon than he shows here.

Originally Published