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Nathen Page: PAGE-ing Nathen

He may not be a household name, but guitarist Nathen Page certainly deserves that degree of recognition. The West Virginia native has built himself a modest musical empire in Florida for the past two decades after having paid his mandatory New York dues, festival appearances and working with Jimmy Smith, Sonny Rollins, Roberta Flack, Herbie Mann, Charles Tolliver and Jackie McLean.

Page-ing Nathen finds him in the worthy company of pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Billy Hart. The writing is crisp and, not surprisingly, all the solo statements are intelligent and hard-driving. The only criticism is that so much is going on in “Sunday Morning Samba” that Barron’s comping tends to clutter the track. The highlight is Page’s reverent treatment of “Here’s That Rainy Day,” which is reminiscent of Joe Pass.

The rhythm section is strictly local for Thinking of You, a little less high-powered, but no less effective for Page’s solo explorations. One of them, “Carrie,” reveals a most eloquent chordal approach. All eight tracks are originals; his harmonic sense belies the fact that he is self-taught. Half of them are blues, and they are definitely Page-turners.

Originally Published