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James Silberstein: Song for Micaela

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One of the continuing, sobering realities of the jazz culture is that players as accomplished as James Silberstein can be such well-kept secrets. He has been on the fringes of the New York and Miami jazz scenes for more than two decades, working with Larry Elgart’s big band, Carter Jefferson, the Drifters, Dave Schnitter and Bob Hope, and playing gigs in resort hotels in Georgia and at private parties.

A primary reason for the anonymity of players like Silberstein is their lack of calling cards: CDs. On Song for Micaela, his belated recording debut, Silberstein, understandably, shows everything he can do. It all begins and ends with his warm, organic sound on electric guitar, and his single-note speed and clarity. Along the way he displays his fluency in bossa nova, blues, funk and the Great American Songbook. He also reveals his skills as an arranger, composer and leader. In this latter capacity, he starts with his working trio (bassist Tony Cimorosi and drummer Vince Cherico) and, on half of the 12 tunes, adds support staff in various configurations who are also strong leaders: trumpeter Randy Brecker, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, pianist Bruce Barth and vocalist Carla Cook.

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