John Stowell/Michael Zilber Quartet: Live Beauty

Cool toned guitarist John Stowell teams up with saxist Michael Zilber and fronts a quartet along with John Shifflett/b and Jason Lewis/dr for a sophisticated set caught at the California Jazz Conservatory n Berkeley, CA back in 2012. Except for the free form and flighty duet between the two on the take of “My Funny Valentine” the band sticks to sophisticated originals which stretch out between 7-12 minutes.

The band has a fragrance similar to 90s era John Scofield, with elliptical and cerebral ly tricky lines as on “In The Park” and the droopily cadenced “Stowell What,” which both feature Zilber’s modal mooded tenor. Lewis’ leads a crisp canter as soprano and guitar do some frantic foot work on “Quantum Theory” as “Shot Through With Beauty” begins with a  pastoral mix of string and tenor before the rhythm team turns up the heat for a bold and dramatic finish. The tip to Scofield concludes with one of his own compositions, “Wabash III” which includes a Pentecostal tambourine and shouting from the pulpit sermon from Zilber while the partner rolls in the aisles. Heady, but also steady.

Origin Records

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