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Rick Stone: Samba de Novembro

Only two pieces on guitarist Rick Stone’s refreshing Samba de Novembro (Jazzand) are Brazilian in flavor. The upbeat title track cycles through a series of fetching modulations, while the slower “Rain Forest” lends an air of mystery. But Stone’s focus, even on the Brazilian tunes, is straightahead jazz. His custom archtop sounds exquisite, and so do his partners on this recording-pianist Tardo Hammer, bassist Yosuke Inoue and drummer Matt Wilson. Stone is a relentless quote-fiend on “Blues Enough,” one of two hard-bop blues originals. His deft, contrapuntal intros and subtle reharmonizations on “My Romance” and “I Can’t Get Started” (both trio cuts) are a pleasure. He duets with Hammer on Kenny Werner’s “Autumn in Three” and the original “In Loving Memory,” and gives Bill Evans’ “Song for Helen” a fine unaccompanied gloss. Inoue’s “West Side Waltz” is another trio highlight, along with Monk’s “Played Twice.” Stone’s axe work is articulate but never rigid, impeccably clean yet well-versed in dirt.

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