The 1960s were fine and formative times for jazz guitar. Wes Montgomery was there. So was Grant Green. The pair led the pack, and still do, to an extent. Guitarist Nathan Borton, with his debut recording, Each Step, embraces the traditions of these two influences.
Borton's sound comes directly out of the straight ahead bebop style, beginning with the album's title tune, a Borton original—a gorgeous easy swinger. Cole Porter's oft-covered "Just One Of Those Things" turns up the heat. Borton glows on his solo, and the group dynamic has an energized vibe. Another Great American Songbook gem, "The More I See You," features Borton going solo for the first two and a half minutes, in an introspective exploration of the familiar. Then Rodney Whitaker's bass and Keith Hall's drums enter with an easy flowing groove.
Borton treats the tradition with reverence—his love for the familiar shines through. With his own compositions—"Each Step," "What Now?," "Chance" and Grant's Groove"—he displays a more modern mindset. The sequencing and production are adeptly done—a nod to the disc's producer, guitarist Randy Napoleon, who contributes one of his own turns, "These Are the Things We Throw Away," another sound that has the Montgomery/Green influence shined up with the modern mood.
Borton closes the set with Green's "Grantstand" followed up by Borton's own "Grant's Groove," to remind us of where he is coming from on Each Step, an album that sounds like a fine first step in an exciting career.