The Chris Vestre Group

Jazz Camp (n / a)

SXSW Records

The Chris Vestre Group

Jazz Camp

What makes this maiden release by Austin guitarist Chris Vestre so appealing is the unique configuration of his local quartet. Guitar/vibes combos are rare, especially on the front line. Often subordinated in the rhythm sections of horn-driven ensembles, here the two instruments' comingling is refreshing. Vestre possesses a warm, round tone reminiscent of Grant Green and Jim Hall, and when teamed with Aaron Lack's shimmering vibraphone, it recalls Green's mid-Sixties Blue Note classic Idle Moments, which featured vibes wizard Bobby Hutcherson. Adding to the similarity are Vestre's original compositions, like "The Box," "Morgan's Hill," and "The Twisted Logic ... ," which cop boogaloo, Latin, and abstract grooves, respectively, and characterized that golden era of jazz. Particularly nice is the way guitar and vibes caress each other in a timeless danse d'amour on another original, "Sweet Honey Tree." Recorded live in a series of first takes, Jazz Camp has a relaxed, spontaneous feel. Drummer Jon Greene and bassist Chris Maresh, both compadres of Vestre in Austin's Torch, round out the group. Maybe with time, the group will move away from the traditional into the more experimental. In the meantime, these jazz campers have made something to write home about. (Thursday, March 17, 1am @ Elephant Room)

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