Boss for a day could describe guitarist Graham
Dechter. A member of the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, the Los
Angeles native fronts a quartet that includes his bosses, bassist John
Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton, for his second release as a leader,
Takin’ It There (Capri Records, 2012).
It’s Dechter’s second romp with the ensemble, which is completed by
pianist Tamir Hendelman. It’s been a while since Dechter’s debut,
Right on Time (Capri Records, 2009). The new release is worth the
The set begins with a swinging take on Wes Montgomery’s “Road Song.”
Dechter’s play here can be compared to Montgomery’s style – also that of
George Benson or Lee Ritenour. A highlight of the piece comes about two
minutes in when the guitar gets put through a series of rapid-fire
phrases. The rhythm section provides plenty of sass.
The quartet delivers on the Dechter/Hendelman arrangement of Antonio
Carlos Jobim’s “Chega de Saudade (No More Blues).” Hendleman leads for
much of the way. The arrangement shifts from a classical introduction to
traditional Brazilian style to free-spirited play with Dechter out front
and the others firmly locked in.
Clayton penned the sassy groove, “Grease for Graham,” a bluesy,
finger-snapping tune. Dechter’s fingers work overtime, burning the
strings. Clayton employs a walking bass line throughout.
Takin’ It There is a mix of original songs and covers, mostly the
latter but devoid of the trite “American Songbook” standards. But with
fresh arrangements by some combination of quartet members, all the songs