Rich Severson, one of the internet's foremost jazz guitar instructors on GuitarCollege.com, completed a new CD features straight ahead jazz that merges bebop lines with funky grooves. Rich's jazz quartet features Roy Carlson on bass, Gary Newmark drums and Darrell Devaurs on keys; all are undiscovered world class talent. Severson's 10 original songs give the quartet room to stretch out with some impressive bebop soloing. The recording and mastering was done at Maximus Media in Fresno, CA, one of the finest studios in the Central California Valley. As a special feature you can also purchase PDFs of the actual charts used in the recording to follow along or try these beboppers out with your own group at http://www.99centguitarlessons.com/catalog/item/7928647/9490668.htm.
Review by Jim Carlton for Just Jazz Guitar
Rich Severson and company deliver a terrific package of jazz fun with Jumpin’ Java. The quartet offers some cool bebop tunes along with an homage to Wes, someone near to Rich’s heart. What’s more, he’s making the charts available for download via his excellent Guitar College Website guitarcollege.com/
If this recording found its way to so-called smooth jazz radio, it would really demonstrate that real jazz can be accessible to those listeners. This is valid stuff by great players and it’s not decaffeinated by any stretch. Yet it offers the ‘easy listening’ audience excellent music that’s not watered down. One can see why guitarist Rich Severson aptly describes it as a “smooth bebop blend.”
Severson has enlisted the support of a first-rate rhythm section with bassist Roy Carlson, drummer Gary Newmark and Darrell Devaurs at the keyboard. Rich, an ex-L.A. resident and instructor at GIT has relocated near Yosemite National Park where he’s had great success with his guitar college offering complete courses in virtually every style of playing. These sessions were recorded in Fresno and it’s heartening to see great players virtually everywhere today. Carlson, Newmark and Devours are truly world class players who could take the stage with any artists anywhere. They’re simply top-notch talent.
The set kicks off with the title tune, “Jumpin’ Java,” a bop tune with an akimbo head that segues immediately into Rich’s first hot solo. He’s been a personal favorite since I heard him jamming with Mitch Holder on a Guitar College DVD years ago. His playing is inventive but always accessible; and like any good studio player he can cover a plethora of styles. But typical of so many of those who were in the studios back in the day, he’s a jazzer at heart so this collection is right in Rich’s wheelhouse. But I digress and must call attention to Darrell Devours’ excellent statement on the opener which sets the stage for an interesting solo by Roy Carlson supported nicely by drummer Gary Newmark’s great chops before everybody heads for the coda. Severson’s composition “Sugar Dance,” is a clever riff that also elicits another terrific solo from the guitarist. But that description works for every track on this collection. It’s superb music by tremendous players and in-the-pocket music that would work on a smooth jazz station, a straight-ahead jazz station or even on college radio - heck, especially college radio. I think our younger listeners are more ecumenical in appreciating what’s good without assigning labels that can ultimately do damage. And that’s my point. Severson and company have produced excellent music that transcends genres. Yes, at its core it’s jazz, but it can reach so many people who just want to appreciate great music. Let’s hope that’s where we’re headed.
This is marvelous stuff that’s full of legitimate improvisation over sophisticated changes. By many definitions that’s jazz. But this music is so friendly and so palatable that perhaps these guys have found the formula. And maybe that’s a by-product of Severson’s ability to cover so much ground. Perhaps he has the key. If so, more power to him and bravo.
Review by Words Emrys Baird for www.blues and soul.com
Rich Severson is known to many as the online teachers' teacher of jazz guitar. His relaxed style and his consummate knowledge in his chosen field is always a delight so it's great to see him in another light ...artist! And what a fine artist he is! All ten tunes are self written and highlight the varied styles that this jazzer can muster.
"Jumping Java" kicks into action with some propulsive drumming courtesy of Gary Newmark whose in the pocket feel, underlays this bouncy tune to the max. Crisp and beautifully recorded a fantastic bedrock for Rich to weald his magic on top. Some highly musical ideas evolve which see Severson channeling the likes of Pat Martino and Wes Montgomery, plus mixing it with his own inimitable style.
6/8 timing is up with the groovetastic "Deal The Deck" a classic ditty in anybody's book with an imperious piano solo first, then followed by Severson's flowing and lilting extemporisations and the party continues with the Steviesque "Sugar Dance." A contorted melody that jazz guitar aficionados will no doubt love, likewise the next track "Twisted Rhythm!"
There's plenty on this album for the jazz lover, Severson manages to combine his Be Bop finesse and natural sounding technique, which puts his unique expressiveness way ahead of many .Joyful stuff and well worth checking out!