Champaign, Illinois native, guitarist and composer Jake Hertzog is musical director and lead guitarist for Nickelodeon's The Naked Brothers Band stars Nat and Alex Wolff. They’ve done two national tours and have performed on ABC's Good Morning America and The View, Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards and NBC's Today. In addition, Hertzog, a Berklee College of Music graduate, was at the age of 20 the youngest Grand Prize winner of the Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition in Switzerland. Chromatosphere is his third release as a leader.
Hertzog is joined by a couple of true heavyweights, who give him and his ideas excellent support and prodding on this recording. Bassist Harvie S has worked with everyone from Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Dexter Gordon and Michael Brecker to Jean Pierre Rampal and drummer Victor Jones, who has worked with artists like James Moody, Woody Shaw, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Clarke, Phyllis Hyman, Stanley Turrentine, Masabumi Kikuchi, Michel Pettruciani, Dizzy Gillespie and Chaka Khan. Pianist Michael Wolff, late of The Arsenio Hall Show and a great jazz pianist in his own right, joins the band for three numbers.
Make no mistake about this recording, it’s all about the young guitarist. Currently making a big name for himself in the jazz world, Hertzog has all the fire one would expect with youth. From the heavily rocked out pieces like "California Hills" to the pop-styled "Back" to covering standards like "Almost Like Being In Love" and Dave Brubeck’s "In Your Own Sweet Way" and an almost smooth jazz waltz with "Lullaby For A Dreamer," Hertzog works to cover all the bases. Because the sweep of the material is so wide and subsequently the vision a bit scattered, one might best think of this recording as a demo for all the situations in which Hertzog could easily and abundantly walk-the-walk.
Throughout Hertzog shows that all of the press he’s been garnering is indeed well earned. He lays down some smoothly melodic and rhythmically locked-in lines on the afore mentioned popish "Back." On "Lullaby," Hertzog shows he is one of the few true jazz artists who understands that understatement and R&B styled lines are important in smooth jazz contexts. When he needs to bite down hard, he can do it. For one so young, he displays tasteful chops on the lightly swinging Brubeck piece and can handle progressive rocked-tinged and advanced harmonic conceptualizations on "Monkey Stuff." This is a young musician who is well worth watching.