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Yotam Silberstein, Next Page (CD review)

Yotam Silberstein, Next Page (Posi-Tone Records)

In 2003, at age 21, Israeli-born guitarist Yotam Silberstein released his debut album on the Fresh Sound label, and aptly titled it The Arrival; the recording’s success opened the door to steady touring throughout Europe and the Middle East.

After six years, studies at the New School, and scores of New York gigs with high-profile leaders, Silberstein is back with an even more impressive second CD, dominated by his own inspired compositions. The guitarist is joined by players who come off as perfectly matched, in tone and musical temperament – B3 organist Sam Yahel, drummer Willie Jones and, on some tracks, tenor saxophonist Chris Cheek.

The group leads off with the bluesy sound, churning swing and eminently catchy hooks of Silberstein’s “Borsht,” but he writes in other veins, too.

“Cancao” is an exceedingly pretty ballad, voiced by Cheek; “Blues for 007″ hints at the Bond movie theme before moving into a sprightly melody and the guitarist’s playful, exuberant improvisation, echoed by Yahel’s extended solo. The laidback “Weekend in Mizpe,” also led by Cheek, is soaked in melancholy.

Middle Eastern melodies and rhythms come into play on Cospi’s “Ani Eshtagea.” And outside composers provide conduits to other directions, too, with the uptempo bebop of Charlie Parker’s “Cheryl,” benefiting from a chorus-trading exchange between Yahel and Cheek, and a mellow, burnished take on Jobim’s “Ligia.”

Given Silberstein’s myriad strengths as a player and his compositional muscle, it would be surprising if he doesn’t find a place in the front ranks of today’s young jazz guitarists.