Sam Yahel: In the Blink of an Eye

Sam Yahel, as he did at the Monk Competition, appeals as a reflective, mature artist with a good sense of his skills and a tangible level of control. Take his tender version of “Spring Is Here”, or the relaxed (not languid) approach to Freddie Hubbard’s classic “Little Sunflower” that opens In the Blink of an Eye. One slight drawback is the mix dampening of Brian Blades’ drums, thereby inhibiting his usual propulsion-though one imagines that’s precisely Yahel’s point as he is the producer and is not exactly a firebreather. The date is a good showcase for Peter Bernstein’s always sparkling guitar work. Yahel has selected a good balance between standards, his two originals and two post-bop gems (“Sunflower” and McCoy Tyner’s “Inception”), but fire seekers need not apply.