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Jim Hershman Trio: 342

As a sideman, guitarist Jim Hershman has a host of credits, including Ernestine Anderson, Miki Coltrane and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Here, however, he steps up front to lead his own trio through a mix of originals and standards. Along the way, Lee Konitz adds his cool, lithe alto sound to four of the disc’s nine tracks.

Overall, Hershman’s approach is mainstream, but with distinctly progressive inclinations, witnessed by his fluid, sometimes angular work on the somewhat off-kilter minor blues “Nubie and Nuust” and “Sprockets,” which features a Konitz contribution that gradually tests the tune’s loosely woven fabric for resilience. On other numbers, Hershman’s playing is more predictable and less probing, but still eminently worthy in terms of melodic integrity and dexterity. Cases in point include his lightly grooving blowing on “Fly,” which skillfully integrates single-note and chordal work, “Three for Two,” a lilting jazz waltz with Konitz, and “Who Can I Turn To,” a subdued guitar/alto duet where Hershman tastefully includes just enough chords to keep his solo harmonically grounded as he negotiates the chord changes.

342? If you like fine guitar playing, Hershman’s centered yet adventurous album may just be the 14U.

Originally Published