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Dayna Stephens featuring John Scofield : The Timeless Now

Also an acoustic bassist, Dayna Stephens has a knowledge of rhythm that most sax players don’t even think is necessary. He doesn’t rush. Stephens, 29, graduated from the Thelonious Monk Institute four years ago and apprenticed with Roy Hargrove, Steve Coleman and Stefon Harris before releasing his solo debut, The Timeless Now.

Stephens makes the right personnel choices on the disc, and not just by featuring guitarist John Scofield on three tracks. Pianist Taylor Eigsti, set to turn 23, switches to Fender Rhodes on “Teeth,” and his dialogue with Stephens’ tenor fuels the 10-minute quartet piece with bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric Harland. Eigsti’s piano intro and solo on “Contagious” burn, and Harland also solos impressively and helps the pianist support Stephens on the post-bop classic. Street introduces Stephens’ pensive, 6/8-timed “There’s That Smile,” and the bassist’s break displays impressive tone and touch.

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