This recording delivers vintage jazz guitar but nothing that sounds trite or old. The George Cotsirilos Trio delivers that with a mix of original tunes and standards on Past Present.
Born in Chicago, Cotsirilos has been a fixture in the San Francisco area since the early 1990s. Trained with the violin, he switched to guitar after becoming frustrated that the violin could not produce pop and jazz sounds he had come to love. After studying at the University of California at Berkeley, he toured with The Whispers and performed with a variety of jazz and blues artists. For Past Present, he is accompanied by bassist Robb Fisher and drummer Ron Marabuto.
"Good Wood" pulls no punches. Cotsirilos delivers some old-school lead guitar, worthy of Wes Montgomery, Lee Ritenour and other notables. Fisher and Marabuto are solid companions, with the former contributing a brief solo. The song is written for jazz pianist Cedar Walton.
The trio presents a delightful, yet bluesy take on the classic, "The Way You Look Tonight." In 3/4 time, it has a sweeping, waltz-like feel. Marabuto's subtle tones on the snare and cymbals provide an effective touch. Cotsirilos, as he does through much of this session, slips chords into single-note phrases, and vice versa. He makes it seem effortless.
"Franny's Jump," which Cotsirilos wrote for an old college friend, is another delightful romp. Although one of the shorter pieces in this set, it's no less engaging. To go so seamlessly from chord to note and back, with several rapid-fire sequences, with no squeaks, takes a high degree of skill and accuracy.
Cotsirilos penned six of the 10 songs on Past Present. The title is fitting, as it brings some old-school stylings together with new compositions and new arrangements of standards.