Bob Sneider: Out of the Darkness

Bob Sneider plays with a glassy, clear tone, a touch of the blues and a countrified sunshine, all of which are reminiscent of Herb Ellis. Spending time as a sideman for Nat Adderley, Nick Brignola and Freddy Cole, among others, Sneider has only recently begun recording as a leader. On Out of the Darkness (Sons of Sound SSPCD010; 60:10), his sophomore effort, the guitarist plays well but lets his good sense fail him in broader contexts. On the two Cole Porter tracks featuring strings, for example, the arrangements are pretty lame, and the presence of strings, particularly on “Ev’ry Time We Say Good-bye,” induces some of Sneider’s most maudlin playing. A friendly stroll through Billy Strayhorn’s “Isfahan” contains a fine performance by the leader, but misses the delicate beauty of the tune. The briskly paced hard bop of the title track suits Sneider much better, and also features quality trumpet work by the guitarist’s brother, John.