Thursday, July 19, 2018

George Cotsirilos Mostly in Blue

George Cotsirilos 
Mostly in Blue 
OA2 Records 

Originally from Chicago, San Francisco Bay Area guitarist George Cotsirilos has been a member of the area's jazz community for many years. He has performed with a wide variety of artists including jazz fixtures like Eddie Marshall, Mel Martin, Pharaoh Sanders and Mark Levine as well as soul and blues singer Etta James, and Bill Evans bassist Chuck Israels. This is his new quartet CD with a band that includes pianist Keith Saunders, former Cal Tjader bassist Robb Fisher and drummer Ron Marabuto. 

This is a strong, straight-ahead set of mostly blues-tinged performances with Cotsirilos having contributed six of the eight numbers. Cotsirilos is a marvelous guitarist in the vein of Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, Kenny Burrell and the like and his swinging, fluid, inventive, single note inventions are complemented by the backing rhythm section with pianist Saunders also outstanding.

Highlights include the lively title track that opens the CD; the tribute to Wes Montgomery "Wes Side Blues," where he evokes the guitar legend; a lovely Brazilian-tinged performance on the standard "I Wish I Knew," that has a brief unaccompanied guitar opening; a peppy rendition of the Benny Harris bebop classic "Crazeology"; and the late evening mood engendered on "Lights Out." 

Cotsirilos notes that the idea was "to present the music much as one would hear it in live performance … ." The performances were recorded at a single session in first or second takes, and on the evidence of the superior performances here, Cotsirilos and his band is a group I would love to hear live if I had the chance.

I received my review copy from a publicist.This review appeared originally in the May-June 2018 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 378). If you visit and click music, you can hear 5 full tracks, including two from this album (the quartet tracks). Here is George Cotsirilos performing live.


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