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Issi Rozen: Homeland Blues

Guitarist Issi Rozen, a native of Israel now based in Boston, acquits himself with an appealing warm tone, a graceful touch and a sophisticated harmonic sense on his second outing as a leader. Yet another product of the Berklee College of Music (whose guitar department, under the direction of Jon Damian, churns out scores of such accomplished players each school year), Rozen swings well-enough and navigates his way through the changes with aplomb on standards like “Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face.” And he burns with an understated intensity on his own “Outbound.” But it’s on the traditional Israeli melody “Shir Hanoded,” recast here with a bit of jazzy bounce by the quartet, and the two Middle Eastern-flavored originals, “Erev” and “Homeland Blues,” where Rozen really distinguishes himself from the hordes of other emerging talents on the scene.

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