Kansas jazz is alive and well! Master guitarist Wayne Goins’ new release reveals a musician of deep feeling, unassailable generosity, and exquisite taste. Chronicles of Carmela is, in fact, the most breathtakingly beautiful new jazz release I’ve heard in years. Goins composed, arranged, and produced all eleven songs and gave his musicians plenty of room to improvise. On the opening tracks, Goins, tenor saxophonist Craig Treinen, and pianist Bill Wingfield conjure images of Wes Montgomery and/or young George Benson sitting in with Atlantic-era John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner. To put this another way: If you play the ten-minute ballad “Dale’s Dream” and your main squeeze doesn’t respond, it’s all over, Jack. Set to a driving groove, “Why Call It Amnesia” builds to a brilliant octaves-and-single-lines guitar solo. “Deborah at Dawn” is a case-study in how to build to a climax and finesse the resolution. “Samba de Solo” cooks. In other highlights, “Kenny’s Hang” pays tribute to Kenny Burrell, and “Choppin’ Wood” delivers a knowing nod to Count Basie’s master rhythm guitarist Freddie Green. Goins and gang end the album on a very high note with “Amnesia (Slight Return).”
In addition to being an outstanding composer and guitarist, Dr. Goins is Director of the Jazz Studies at Kansas State University and co-author of A Biography of Charlie Christian, Jazz Guitar’s King of Swing, which is, without doubt, the best study of Christian yet published. And Carmela, by the way, is the name of his Gibson electric guitar, lucky girl she. For more info, visit http://www.waynegoins.com/ .