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Inside Out: What Is This Thing?

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Stateside jazz fans and critics have slept on Canadian guitarist Lorne Lofsky. A masterful improviser with a warm, appealing tone (on a Fender Telecaster, no less), he’s a finger-style player who, like the late genius Lenny Breau, is able to get closer to the harmonic richness and chordal voicings of pianist Bill Evans than most guitarists. Lofsky is the standout of this loose, highly interactive, free-blowing trio session with bassist Kieran Overs and drummer, producer and label head Barry Romberg. They move nimbly together as one on the swinging, time-shifting abstractions of standard vehicles like “Autumn Leaves,” “What Is This Thing Called Love?” and “All the Things You Are.” Romberg and Overs also distinguish themselves as first-rate improvisers and keen listeners along the way.

On a stretched-out take of Miles Davis’ “All Blues,” Lofsky easily tosses off quotes from Monk’s “Well You Needn’t” and Miles’ “Walkin'” while taking great liberties with the familiar melody. His playing over an open-ended take on Davis’ “Solar” is also full of daring choices and dazzling solo turns. While Lofsky’s quicksilver, organically flowing-over-the-bar-line linear concept (somewhat akin to John Abercrombie’s) is readily apparent throughout this adventurous trio outing, his penchant for lush chordal melodies is most pronounced on his own gorgeous ballad “One for Ed” and on Evans’ delicate “Turn Out the Stars.” Jazz-guitar aficionados definitely need to check this guy out.