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Rodney Jones: The Undiscovered Few

Several tracks on guitarist Rodney Jones’ fourth album as a leader mine the George Benson-CTI Records sound: “Light and Shadows,” “Tradewinds,” and “Dreamers in Love,” for example. Maybe I’ve been listening to too many blues guitarists lately, but Jones seems to play many pieces with an emotional evenness, whether it’s a Coltrane-ish “My Favorite Things” or the softer Benson-flavored pieces. Maybe I’m feeling the need for a more soulful focus. Anyway, as an improviser, Jones exhibits clean picking, sequential development, and a flair for stair-stepping lines built on fourths.

His “Oliver & Thad” (for the late composers and arrangers Oliver Nelson and Thad Jones) is one of the more swinging tracks, with a small horn ensemble voiced with his chorded guitar lead. “Lesson Time” cooks solidly in a style reminiscent of Pat Martino. “Tears of a Forgotten Child” is a lovely duet with violinist Regina Carter. Instrumental combinations vary from track to track, with 13 musicians on the date. Most cuts include the solid team of bassist Lonnie Plaxico and drummer Eric Harland.

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