Emily Remler isn't one to stay in the same groove for very long. After two highly acclaimed albums that demonstrated her considerable technique and sensitivity, the young jazz guitarist has recently released "Transitions," her most interesting and ambitious effort to date.
In the past, Remler proved how well versed she was in the standard jazz repertory, but except for Duke Ellington's stately blues "Searchin' " and Sam Jones' boppish express "Del Sasser," there's little that's standard about "Transitions." For starters, there's no piano; instead, John D'earth's trumpet takes its place. As a result, the harmonic responsibilities for the group (D'earth, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Bob Moses) rest with Remler, and she meets the challenge head-on.
Among the album's highlights are the title track, a Spanish-flavored essay characterized by shifting moods, meters and textures; "Coral," an impressionistic piece written by Keith Jarrett that proves to be a splendid showcase for both Remler and D'earth; and "Ode to Mali," an exotic Remler original enlivened by a judicious use of electronics and Bob Moses' compelling rhythms.
Throughout, each of the musicians develops a distinctive voice, yet together they achieve a smooth, cohesive blend.
EMILY REMLER -- "Transitions" (Concord Jazz CJ 236); appearing at the One Step Down on Friday and Saturday.