Album reviews

Jim Snidero, feat. Kurt Rosenwinkel – ‘Far Far Away’

-Jim Snidero, feat. Kurt Rosenwinkel, w/ Orrin Evans, Joe Farnsworth & Peter WashingtonFar Far Away

(Savant Records  SCD2207. Album Review by Richard Lee)

Here’s an album of great virtuosity, pitch-and-beat-perfect in every respect, and accompanied with Dan Bilawsky’s detailed and enthusiastic liner notes, which – if you could read them – would do my job for me. So allow me encourage you to get hold of a copy…

First, let there be no doubt: this is a band of highly accomplished musicians led by Jim Snidero’s super-confident alto. One is rather seduced by the powerful earworms he uses in the heads of his six compositions here, not least the opening title track’s simple but effective 2-note riff – a hint of Dave Douglas, perhaps? Both Orrin Evans’ piano and Joe Farnsworth’s drums get pleasing solo spots establishing the rhythm section’s credentials. The pacy opener gives way to the more stately Infinity, the leader’s powerful tone matched by Kurt Rosenwinkel’s plangency.  It’s followed by the album’s single songbook item, a gorgeous reading of It Might As Well Be Spring.  Next, a change up the gears to Nowhere To Hide, does what it says, and the following track Obsession is very much in the same style: an assured, confident modernity that these players seem to revel in.

Kurt Rosenwinkel’s ringing guitar is an equal foil to Snidero’s nimble alto, and both can soar with ease.  The tribute to Pat Martino – Pat – with its bright and distinctive riff is an obvious showcase for their easy facility together, but also , perhaps inevitably, reminded me that the spirit of Metheny too is there, both in their sound and the open, optimistic feel that such confident musicianship imbues.  That gives way to  the album’s other non-Snidero-penned number and another ballad, a beautifully considered take of McCoy Tyner’s Search For Peace, before closing the set with the assertive Little Falls which really lets Snidero bow out with terrific flourish.

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My interest in Jim Snidero was piqued by his teaching materials, which really capture the essence of the style under scrutiny and encourage precision.  This album exemplifies and amplifies that quality. Technical perfection and exuberance abound, with the same rhythm section that backed him so beautifully in his 2020 double-album lockdown set.  Their comping and solo spots are as tight and bright as the featured soloists. If that sounds like faint praise, I cannot do better than recommend you check out their compelling backstories in a review of that album Live at the Deer Head Inn which inspired LJN’s writer to consider jazz-matters beyond the highly regarded set itself (LINK BELOW).  Snidero and his partners in time have that effect. 


1.         Far Far Away   6:59

2.         Infinity    7:38    

3.         It Might as Well Be Spring    6:59

4.         Nowhere to Hide    6:56

5.         Obsession    7:52

6.         Pat    5:15

7.         Search for Peace    4:45

8.         Little Falls    7:41

LINK: Sebastian Scotney’s review of Live at the Deer Head Inn

Buy Far Far Away

Categories: Album reviews, Reviews

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