Gerard Beaudoin 3rd
Guitar International Magazine Review Of The Return By Vince Lewis
Gerry Beaudoin - The Return
Boston jazz artist Gerry Beaudoin has distinguished himself in many ways the past several decades. He has been a mainstay in jazz clubs of Boston and New York City. Beaudoin is also well respected as a teacher, which is one of the most admirable parts of his career. He is making sure that a new generation of jazz guitarists understands the roots of where we are today. Explaining and demonstrating the form and complexity of playing through advanced chord changes is a true gift, and one that needs to be shared freely.
Beaudoin has performed and recorded with a bevy of top level jazz musicians. He has shared the stage with Bucky and John Pizzarelli, Ronnie Earl, Howard Alden and Dave Grisman, and including the New Guitar Summit, a group that featured Beaudoin, Jay Geils and Duke Robillard.
The Return comes after a slight break from performance over the past few years due to unforeseen health complications. The liner notes to this CD discuss how much Beaudoin missed performing for a while, and also a new found appreciation of getting back to it recently.
The group on this recording includes Jesse Williams (bass), Les Harris Jr. (drums) and Harry Allen (tenor saxophone). This is the rhythm section that Beaudoin returned to action with, and Allen adds a wonderful touch as an additional voice.
Most of the tunes on The Return are originals penned during his six month convalescence. The title track is a medium Latin tune with a catchy melody and chord structure. Allen and Beaudoin double the melody and complement each other perfectly. “Jackie’s Serenade” gives Allen the perfect vehicle for his breathy expressive tone. It is also nice to hear excellent brush work by Harris and a sustained, rich bass line by Williams.
“So Long Ebony” is a swing tune reminiscent of the classic composition “Impressions,” but with a nice bridge section. “I Often Thought You’d Never Leave Me” has a melody that matches the melancholy title perfectly, and once again, Allen supplies the perfect phrasing to make it effective. Modified rhythm changes are the basis for “Hamilton Honeymoon,” and Beaudoin shows his more bluesy side here romping through the first solo. His understanding and respect for those gone before is present in his note selection and chord solo. Beaudoin has a traditional rich tone and solid technical skill both playing single lines and chord accompaniment. Other solid selections include “Mother’s Day Waltz,” “R.S.G.,” and “Joanne Hears The Blues.”
Two standards are also in this set. “God Bless the Child” opens with a pretty solo guitar chord melody, with Beaudoin always plays the perfect voicing to enhance the melody and original intent of the composer. The A. C. Jobim Bossa Nova tune “Wave” starts with a guitar Montuna type intro before settling into a nice relaxed performance.
Beaudoin has put together a solid musical group here. The musicians all interact and support each other instinctively, the original tunes offering a good variety of styles and are solidly constructed. This is an excellent example of how some players actually get better with age and experience. There is a delicate balance on The Return between playing for the sake of the music and providing enjoyment for the listener. Beaudoin obviously loves what he does, and it shows in this album.