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Softly Lit Firefly

27 JAN 11 CHRIS SLAWECKI

Emily Remler began her career in the stars. While still an unknown guitarist, she debuted at the Concord Jazz Festival upon the personal invitation of the legendary Herb Ellis. She was signed thereafter to Concord Records by label president Carl Jefferson, who then produced her debut as a leader, Firefly (Concord Jazz, 1981), teaming the guitarist with impeccably gracious pianist Hank Jones in an acoustic quartet.

Firefly is a genuine master's work. Remler and Jones play sharp and warm yet soft and cool, their sound perfectly matched to Horace Silver's gently bobbing groove "Strollin'." In "Movin' Along," Remler places each note and phrase right where composer Wes Montgomery would have put them. Jones sounds similarly inspired to jump on and drive McCoy Tyner's "Inception." As bass and drums shuffle the rhythm to Jobim's "Look To The Sky," Jones' twinkling notes beautifully dust Remler's guitar, which wraps itself up in Jobim like a blanket, and sometimes stretches out like a yawning cat.

Jones also delivers elegant, refined piano support on Remler's tribute to her bop guitarist forefather East To Wes (Concord Jazz, 1988). If only Emily Remler could have mastered the personal demons to which she succumbed as well as she mastered her guitar. It tragically proved to be her final release. She died far too young, at age 32 in 1990. Upon her passing, Concord Jazz issued Retrospective, Volume One: Standards, a collection of Remler performing her favorite jazz and pop standards (including Firefly's "In A Sentimental Mood"), in 1991.

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Chick Corea - The Vigil