Jacob Young: Sideways (ECM/Ode)

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Jacob Young: Gazing at Stars
Jacob Young: Sideways (ECM/Ode)

With the same refined band as on his ECM debut of three years or so ago, this Norwegian-American guitarist has once again crafted an album of subtle shades, gentle lyricism and persuasive melodies.

At times you may hear suggestions of Pat Metheny at his most quietly romantic, at other times Young steps aside to let trumper Matthias Eick or tenor player Vidar Johansen move into the foreground -- but at all times, especially with veteran ECM drummer Jon Christensen holding them to earth, this has the feel of a real ensemble of kindred spirits.

There is a gentle ambience throughout -- it sounds more Mediterranean than from those frosty climes to the north -- and on the deceptively titled Time Rebel a slightly woozy quality does make you feel that time is somehow slipping sideways.

For half a dozen of the 10 tracks Young puts aside the electric guitar to prove that he is just as accomplished on acoustic, where he brings out beautifully rounded tone or some deft finger picking.

This is a hypnotically good album, and that Young is working with the same ensemble again bodes well for the future of this group as a self-contained entity.

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