Recorded in July last year in a Hollywood studio Dedication opens with the Glasper-ish ‘Elusive,’ not the typical sound of the album by any means.
This Silver Spring, Maryland-born player who by the age of 11 had lost all his sight, revels in writing highly involving tunes whether anthemic on ‘B Dub’ or tuggingly heartfelt on ‘No Matter’, or even, in the ultimate test of any album in this idiom, the ability to be so natural on ‘For Clark’ dedicated to mentor Clark Terry.
Kauflin’s trio – with Christopher Smith on bass, and Billy Williams on drums – at heart is a cultured old-fashioned unit enhanced by guitarist Matt Stevens and also by nylon string guitarist Etan Haziza who guests on the homespun ‘Thank You Lord’ which boasts a gem of a bass solo feature by bassist Smith. I’d just as much prefer hearing the trio all the way through although the track order sequencing means the switch-abouts to go bigger or more intimate don’t disrupt. ‘Tempest’ is the track I’ll be returning to often, a beautifully rhapsodic trio piece along with the hymnal solo piano track ‘Mother’s Song,’ the cadences crisp and authoritative.
UK/Ireland release: 23 February