"The record has a nice, eclectic mix, but it’s not too all over the map," says Von Doran in addressing his own nature as a guitarist. "A lot of sideman guitarists, which is basically what I’ve been, tend to do a look-what-I-can-do kind of record for their debut," he says in a press release. "It’s like, ‘Here I am being Wes Montgomery, here I am being Jeff Beck, here I am being Chet Atkins, and here I am being Bill Frisell.’ And that might work for some players, but I wanted it to have some kind of focus."
The focus is crystal clear as Von Doran and friends embark on a mellow, yet hip journey into guitar jazz.
From the hauntingly melodic opener, Balance, to the earthy N’Awlins flavored funk of Measure One to the impassioned swinging Critical Mass, sparked by the ace rhythm tandem of James Genus on bass and Baylor on drums, and featuring a thrilling tenor solo from Mintzer, Von Doran covers a lot of stylistic bases on In This Present Moment.
Organist Larry Goldings adds a thick, Hammond B-3 cushion underneath the aptly named Swang, which is fueled by the briskly swinging, interactive pulse of Terri Lyne Carrington on the kit, and culminates some heated trading between the organ and the guitar. The potent organ trio also appears on the breezy, Latin-flavored Z and the more ethereal Ex Nihilo.
Producer Haslip appears alongside his Yellowjackets bandmate Baylor on the challenging, post-boppish Vanity Strikes, which also features a burning solo from vibist Roger Burn. Former Chick Corea Elektric Band drummer Gary Novak provides the slamming backbeat on the powerful groover Cable.
And for a radical change of pace, Von Doran pulls out his 11-string nylon fretless Godin guitar on the provocative Trick, which is underscored by some adventurous interplay between bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz and drummer Peter Erskine.
Von Doran closes the collection with the melancholic acoustic guitar ballad Somewhere Before, which features some sensitive brushwork from Erskine and is also highlighted by a beautifully expressive solo upright bass intro by Oles.
From opener to closer, there’s not a weak link on In This Present Moment. It’s a strong debut for this guitar talent.
May there be many more to come.