Will Stellenraad at The Musicquarium
You'd be hard pressed to find two more happening guys to have backing you in an organ trio: Joe Doria, one of Seattle's most visible and ecclectic orgainists (and pianist with my own group for a couple years); Matt Jorgensen, drummer, bandleader, and recording/internet developer extraordinaire. Matt played with as much fire and inspiration as I've ever heard him play, and Joe's happy and soulful approach is always a joy to hear. But Will Stellenraad still managed to disappoint me. I was not familiar with his playing going in, and had no expectations, but at times I felt like I was hearing somebody play jazz music for the first time. The majority of the music came from a groove-based mentality, certainly drawing on the jazz guitar lineage of Wes Montgomery, George Benson, and John Scofield. However, most of the time I felt like I was hearing a so-so player, or maybe somebody just coming into playing jazz from rock music. Why? Suspect time, lack of solo development, sometimes didn't really know the tunes -- need I go on? I am sure that Will's recordings are very good, and quite enjoyable listening, especially if you are a fan of groove-oriented music. But trust me -- we in the Northwest have never had a shortage of great guitar players -- Dan Heck, Dan Faehnle, Dan Balmer, Dave Peterson... -- and all of these guys would've left me with a better taste in my mouth. To all those people who ask me why I've returned to Seattle: my point has just been illustrated.