Jazz music, news and views

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ruller Measures Up

Hailing from Holland, guitarist Jesse van Ruller has proved himself to be a formidable talent on the rise since winning the Thelonious Monk Competition for Guitar in 1995 (and being one of the first Europeans to do so). Beginning classical guitar lessons in his youth, he gradually expanded his musical diet to include pop and rock (Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones) and bridged over to the world of jazz via George Benson and John Scofield.

Issuing his debut album as a leader at 29, Here and There, van Ruller has since been a rising international star, though he's still slightly under the radar. While some axemen today seem to be cashing in on the languid, bluesy/rock-ish sounds of Scofield or adopting the oceanic reverb of Kurt Rosenwinkel, it's refreshing to hear van Ruller building his own voice from several influences: a warm tone combined with assault rifle-chops. He cites older talents like Jim Hall, Jimmy Raney and Wes Montgomery as influences but also takes note of his contemporaries like Peter Bernstein and Pat Metheny.

He currently composes music for and plays with the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw and his performance creds include the Metropole Orchestra, the Berliner Symphoniker, Toots Thielemans, Philip Catherine, and other straight-ahead players in the States like trumpeter John Swana, drummer Clarence Penn and saxman Seamus Blake. Blake joins van Ruller with organist Sam Yahel and drummer Bill Stewart for his ninth and latest recording, Views. This is his second date with these players, and it shows in their chemistry.

Buy Views!


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