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Monday, September 29, 2008

CD Review: John Stein - Encounterpoint

John Stein - Encounterpoint
2008, Whaling City Sound

John Stein is the sort of guitar player you build a band around. As former bandleader or sideman for the likes of David "Fathead Newman" and Lou Donaldson, Stein has proven himself to be a versatile and dynamic jazz man. For all great artists there are always songs that get held back for someday, when the perfect band or gig comes along. Rather than wait for the day to come along, Stein put together the band in the fall of 2007 for a weekend session in Boston. The result is Stein's 7th album, Encounterpoint. It may just be his best thus far.

Encounterpoint opens with Jordu, written by Duke Jordan and popularized by Clifford Brown; the melody literally jumps off Stein's fingers. What becomes apparent very quickly is that Stein has put together a super group of incredibly talented musicians. Stein's band includes drummer Ze Eduardo Nazario (Brazil); keyboardist Koichi Sato (Japan) and bassist John Lockwood (South Africa). There isn't a piece here that isn't played with expert delicacy and fabulous musical interplay. Check out the exquisite Line Drive where Sato takes center stage. Other notable tunes are Roundabout, Trois, and Carlos Jobim's Dindi.

John Stein is a virtuoso on jazz guitar. Encouterpoint is jazz as it is meant to be played -- vibrant and full of life. The creative sparks fly all over the place on Encounterpoint, as Stein raises his game to yet another level. It’s definitely worth the time to listen to.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about John Stein at You can pick up a copy of Encounterpoint at

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