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Reviews

 

"Partners in Crime is a partnership between three leaders: guitarist Jim Hershman, keyboardist Bill Cunliffe, and drummer Jeff Hamilton. It becomes quickly apparent that the three musicians have no need to show off, but instead finesse the listener's attention in a subtle manner. Hershman's funky title track opens the CD with a swagger, while his "Don's Kitchen" is a fluid bop vehicle. Cunliffe, best known for his work as a pianist, is an equally talented organist. Highlights of his include the complex Latin-flavored "Better Late Than Never" and the lyrical setting of the slowly savored "I-75 Bossa Nova," the latter of which suggests an early Sunday morning drive on an isolated stretch of this East Coast interstate. The trio's interpretation of Billy Strayhorn's infrequently performed "Drawing Room Blues" is spacious, elegant, and understated, especially due to Hamilton's percussion, while they also hold back a bit in their arrangement of Kenny Dorham's well-known "Una Mas." This enjoyable session definitely merits a follow-up recording."
~ Ken Dryden, All Music Guide

 

"With full-bodied richness and free flowing riffs, guitarist Jim Hershman swings with skill and style on his latest recording as a leader entitled 342. A veteran jazz artist for over 25 years, Hershman has been around the musical block in a variety of jazz modes from big band to straight bebop, and even classical music. His playing has depth and his musical influences are evident with undertones of guitar patriarchs Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery.

The trio for this recording is fulfilled with popular bassist Scott Colley and Kenny Wollenson on drums. The addition of saxophone great Lee Konitz is an added treat. The trio moves smoothly throughout the session with a mixture of standards and Hershman originals. Hershman's playing is colorful as he delivers liquid solos and chord phrasings with speed and control. Colley, a rising star, provides solid bass lines and a few outstanding solos. The rhythm is glued with finesse by nice work from drummer Wollenson. The trio swings with class and flair on the timeless Billy Strayhorn tune "UMMG". Other selections such as "Three for two" showcase Hershman's mellow cool and the enduring spirit of Lee Konitz' sax adds a refreshing layer of sound with warm solos that interact with the smooth vibe of the entire setting."
-Mark F. Turner,All About Jazz.com 2002




"As a sideman, guitarist Jim Hershman has a host of credits, including Ernestine Anderson, Miki Coltrane and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Here, however, he steps up front to lead his own trio through a mix of originals and standards. Along the way, Lee Konitz adds his cool, lithe alto sound to four of the disc's nine tracks.

Overall, Hershman's approach is mainstream, but with distinctly progressive inclinations, witnessed by his fluid, sometimes angular work on the somewhat off-kilter minor blues "Nubie and Nuust" and "Sprockets," which features a Konitz contribution that gradually tests the tune's loosely woven fabric for resilience. On other numbers, Hershman's playing is more predictable and less probing, but still eminently worthy in terms of melodic integrity and dexterity. Cases in point include his lightly grooving blowing on "Fly," which skillfully integrates single-note and chordal work, "Three for Two," a lilting jazz waltz with Konitz, and "Who Can I Turn To," a subdued guitar/alto duet where Hershman tastefully includes just enough chords to keep his solo harmonically grounded as he negotiates the chord changes.

342? If you like fine guitar playing, Hershman's centered yet adventurous album may just be the 14U."
-Jim Ferguson, Jazz Times Oct 2002



"...I would not characterize Jim Hershman as a burner since he never overwhelms with technique, but you always know it is there in reserve. Moreover, he is one of the more intelligent and deep Jazz players I have heard in quite a while, and is quite able to keep up with Lee Konitz on the cuts he shares with him. The trio is very tight, and track after track have fine examples of close interplay between Hershman, Colley and Wollensen. Colley is a very melodic bassist and his solos do not let down the forward momentum as happens so often, while Wollensen is extremely subtle, using brushes a lot to good effect.

We dive right in with "Nubie and Nuust", a very disguised 12-bar blues form that just charges out of the starting gate with intense energy - I hummed this tune for days and days. The theme has many wide intervalic jumps that are just hard to play, but everything just grooves, seemingly in one whooshing breath - truly wonderful.

Following this is a lightly swinging "In Love In Vain", a very pretty tune, and Hershman's very nice solo is overshadowed by the middle section's rhythm change and a fantastic solo by Colley. Konitz stars next on "Subconcious Lee" in his unmistakeable tone and phrasing. After Hershman and Konitz play the very tricky theme in unison, Konitz's plays a typically sinuous solo and then Hershman comes in playing in the same vein, using shorter phrases, placed all around the bar line. After another great bass solo, Hershman and Konitz play lines (or, better, phrases) over each other, before ending with the unison playing. "But Beautiful" is a clinic on pure guitar sound, phrasing and chord/melody playing on a ballad.

"Sprockets" is arguably the most intense piece, starting out with a ponderous bass riff, over which a broken theme is stated by Konitz and Hershman. Konitz then solos over the driving bass and drums, as things pick up steam with the bass line doubling. Hershman picks up a note that Konitz plays to signal his entrance. Wonderful, intelligent, energetic and driving music. The other two Hershman originals ("Three For Two" and "Fly") are also good, and almost memorable, tunes. If all this were not enough, we are treated to a sax and guitar duet on "Who Can I Turn To" on which Hershman accompanies Konitz in a manner that both supports him and plays along, while never falling apart rhythmically when he solos.

One of the finest discs I have heard in a while, highly recommended."
-Budd Kopman, Cadence Magazine,December 2002
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