Jacob Wise Quartet
Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., Sept. 6, 2019
Before he's played a note, Jacob Wise finds himself in that rarest of categories: native Austin jazz artist. As evidenced by his second album, the ATX-born/University of North Texas-educated guitarist and instructor manages to keep his cool despite being in the same bucket as late local heroes Kenny Dorham and Martin Banks. As such, Paseo is no fusion-soaked display of blazing chops with an intrinsic need to prove instrumental bona fides. Instead, Wise picks up the ball from post-bop legends Grant Green and Kenny Burrell, riffing a refined sense of melody and dedication to taste. The axeman and his backing trio, including scene-stealing pianist Damian Garcia, infuse the bopping "Panther Burn" and Latin-laced title track with a musicality that beckons rather than burns. Using his enhanced chops for tuneful accessibility as often as for hot breaks, Wise entices listeners to enter his world rather than intimidating them.