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Steve Herberman: Thoughtlines

The Berklee College of Music continues to turn out a large number of guitarists, including Steve Herberman, who is based in the Washington, D.C., area. On Thoughtlines (String Jazz), he flexes his instrumental muscles, supported by tenorman Bruce Swaim, bassist Victor Dvoskin and drummer Dominic Smith. With a fluid, light touch, Herberman spins out ideas that hang together well, despite his tendency to sometimes come off a bit tentative, witnessed by “I Wish I Knew,” “Laura” and four originals, including “Extended Cruise” and the title track. There’s a bit of a creative disconnect between his interpretation of Charlie Christian’s “A Smooth One,” which gets an unusually slow treatment that suggests creative ambitions that are bigger than the tune’s outcome, and Duke Pearson’s “Jeannine,” with its more conventional bright reading that in places sounds like he’s is scuffling to keep up. Nevertheless, he generally avails himself well over the course of the program, demonstrating solid harmonic and melodic sensibilities.

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