Rale Micic: Serbia (2006)
During a blindfold test, it would be hard for anyone to tell that guitarist Rale Micic hails from Serbiaor, for that matter, any other country that isn't noted for modern jazz musicians. With help from notables such as trumpeter/flugelhornist Tom Harrell and drummer Gregory Hutchinson, this quartet packs an unassuming punch marked by soft tones and sleek phrasings.
As an electric guitarist, Micic resides somewhere between Kenny Burrell and Jim Hall. He possesses a dark yet warm tone and is masterful when comping behind Harrell or tenor saxophonist Bob Reynolds. During a few mid-tempo swing numbers, the band uses space as a medium while pursuing gently flowing lyricism mixed with understated thematic forays. They open it up on "Lucky Number with briskly stated bop lines. Micic executes diminutive phrasings, nimble single-note flurries and dreamy chord voicings; Hutchinson lays it all out with a polyrhythmic solo towards the finale. In other spots, the quartet delves into up-tempo blues balladry and sprightly soloing, often tinged with pensive characteristics. Nonetheless, Micic surfaces as an idea man whose solid chops complement his seemingly extensive knowledge of the jazz vernacular.
Track Listing: Dimitrije, Sine Mitre; Song for Alma; Through the Night; Lucky Number; Far From Home; Together; Blessing; By Your Side; Happiness; Serbia.
Personnel: Rale Micic: guitar; Tom Harrell: trumpet & flugelhorn; Bob Reynolds: tenor saxophone; Sean Conly: acoustic bass; Gregory Hutchinson: drums.