Mason Razavi and Bennett Roth-Newell, After You

by Sylvannia Garutch

Guitarist, Mason Razavi and pianist, Bennett Roth-Newell are a regularly working duet that has released an album entitled, After You.  The two explore original compositions, in addition to recognized standards. Razavi and Roth-Newell exhibits an excellent chemistry as a duet, both listen to each other and playoff each other’s phrases in a true conversational manner.

Razavi has a great touch; the bond with his guitar is evident and only comes from profound dedication to the study and practice of the high art of guitar playing. Razavi never plays a line or phrase out of place, every line and chord has the sense of being carefully chosen and played with assurance and heart. There is always solid focus on the melody and his knowledge of advanced harmonic or melodic is guided by his ears, not his technique.

Roth-Newell has a natural sense of jazz history in his playing, his esthetic and openness to the piano lineage is apparent. His chord voicings are splendid; his sensitivity as an accompaniment is exceptional and his single lines are clear in both rhythm and melodic direction. It is rewarding to hear, the precision of his touch and the logic of his playing combined with his virtuosity lead to a high sense of musical expression.

After You covers swing, blues, ballads, funky straight eight, and latin. The expressive nuance of the two interacting and painting a consistent musical picture is moving, stirring, brilliant and restrained.

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