Dan Adler: All Things Familiar

Guitarist Adler assembled four other musicians, brothers Grant and Philip Stewart on tenor sax and drums, Richard Samuels on piano and Dmitri Kolesnik on bass, and a ten song, very attractively packaged CD results. The title is appropriate; the forms and many of the specific tunes will be familiar to the hard core jazz audience. The title tune reworks a (guess which) Kern classic, there are also two Cole Porter tunes, plus “Star Eyes,” “Emily,” a blues, a waltz and a samba. Adler’s original melodies over the familiar forms are good and he solos well. Grant Stewart is the outstanding soloist here and the other musicians represent themselves in thoroughly professional fashion.

Adler has succeeded in delivering a good representation of himself and his colleagues as professionals performing at recordable level. The listener’s reaction to the record will depend on to what extent they are seeking the familiar. The attempts to spice up “Star Eyes” by a slight rehamonization and “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” by playing the first eight bars in ¾ have only a tiny effect on the overall familiarity that is comfortable but unexciting.