Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Ximo Tebar: The Champs

If the names Joey DeFrancesco and Idris Muhammad are enough reason for folks to check out Spanish guitarist Ximo Tebar’s 11th album, The Champs (Omix), I’d like to hope those same people will be racking up Visa debt for import copies of his last 10. Just hearing 41-year-old Tebar’s simmering rendition of Jimmy Heath’s “Ginger Bread Boy” has me wishing that we Stateside types hadn’t been in the dark about for so much of his career.

This date shows that Tebar has a Rat Packer’s heart: He’s almost too aware of his own coolness. But the CD also busts at the seams with killer displays of musicality from all concerned. Tebar’s bebop-borne chops keep pace with DeFrancesco’s thrust on the Hammond B3, but it’s far from a screaming, gritty organ set. A classier vibe steams off this disc, with DeFrancesco (and Tebar, too) articulating notes in solos cleanly and smear-free without coming across as stiff. And the pair has a rare patience with its timekeeper, heard at its best in “Nica’s Dream” where Muhammad executes extended, suspense-building fills that resolve in tight interplay.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published