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  • Jonathan Widran

BOB ARTHURS & STEVE LaMATTINA, Jazz It Up: Ukranian Songs for Three Dads

Don’t let the subtitle of this unique dual album by world renowned jazz trumpeter Bob Arthurs and guitarist Steve LaMattina make you think this is an ethnic album best enjoyed by those of Ukranian heritage The tunes are traditional pieces from that culture, which is the background of producer Irena Protenko, who commissioned the duo. Yet their graceful, lyrical interaction, sense of strut and swing and skilled interplay of melody and harmony beautifully transcend the source material.

There’s an appealing old-timeyness in the recording as well that makes us feel we are time traveling to a beautiful village to imagine just how these songs first took flight. And for the truly adventurous listener, Arthur even sings a few pieces in the native tongue.

Though not conceived as part of a literal series, Jazz It Up! is a lovely bookend to the duo’s two previous, more mainstream recordings, Jazz For Svetlana and Jazz for Molly. A fresh way to discover two excellent jazz musicians at the top of their game!

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