The Emily Remler Quartet
Remler left the jazz world suitably agog last year when her debut album demonstrated a facility on guitar commensurate with such hallowed names as Jim Hall, Wes Montgomery, Herb Ellis and Tal Farlow. With her second album, the 25-year-old from Englewood Cliffs, N.J. consolidates her position. There are subtle yet unmistakable changes: She sounds relaxed now, self-assured and, in small but meaningful twists of phrase, more adventurous. Because of the total concentration and emotional investment they require, ballads are a good litmus test for guitarists. Remler’s are tender and intimate. In her Waltz for My Grandfather she ascends through a series of airy trills and at the end of her solo lightens her touch progressively until her guitar literally evaporates into the opening notes of the bass solo. In the next cut, Mongo Santamaria’s Afro Blue, she switches to acoustic guitar and shows equal command of strumming and finger-picking styles. Her pianist, young Art Blakey alumnus James Williams, demonstrates why his own career is burgeoning. His solo on Cannonball Adderley’s Cannonball skitters and careens on the edge of delirium and conjures up the incandescence of Bud Powell.