Bruce Forman Trio: Formanism

A bona fide bopper at heart, guitarist Bruce Forman has long been acknowledged as a harmonically advanced player with an alluring, dark tone and penchant for melodic improvisation. On this excellent trio outing, he most closely resembles classic jazz guitar players Barney Kessel and Barry Galbraith on originals like the Bird-inspired title track, his gorgeous chord melody ballad “Sea Sweet,” the earthy “Blue Jake” and the tricky “Gone for Good,” which includes drummer Jake Reed and bassist Gabe Noel both deftly playing unison lines alongside the guitarist before opening up to a three-way conversation. The mellow and mysterious standard “Flamingo” conjures a warm, inviting vibe, courtesy of Reed’s insinuating “Poinciana” groove and Noel’s deep-toned bass ostinato underneath. Reed showcases some briskly swinging brushwork on “Underdog,” on which Forman and Noel execute tight unisons on the intricate head. The three nonchalantly navigate challenging stop-time phrases on “Obstacle Chorus,” then glide through the elegant waltz “Bruzette” like dancing partners. This superb trio is in sync every step of the way.

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