DAVE KARDAS BAND, “Fire and Ice”
While the larger lot of instrumental jazz is a nice enough background complement to conversation or Sunday brunch, the classical guitar work commandeered by Connecticut-based Dave Kardas is intricately conceived—with obvious consideration to sharing the microphone with his accompanists: Steve Clarke on bass, Dean Yalanis on drums and Pat Marafiote on keyboards. Second disc “Fire and Ice,” recorded at Carriage Hill Studios in Stamford, is truly an ensemble effort, and while some of the songs run long for a studio project, the play-off between parts wholly draws the listener to the speakers. As a trained classical and jazz guitarist since age 12 who studied at Hartt School of Music, Kardas obviously knows his instrument as well as any vocalist knows their chops. In tracks like “Blues Tonight,” he teases and dares with playful precision; on “Paradox,” his guitar chatters away like a caffeine jolt (alongside some awfully groovy keyboards); and on “Lady Honey,” Kardas gets downright randy with the sensual bluesy arrangement. A nice collection for aficionados, and a must-have for fans of the Dave Kardas Band’s regional live shows.