March 6, 2020
Having a "Watershed" Moment
John Stein Hits All the Right Notes on a
There's really something to the idea that experience helps you see things more clearly. On the transcendent "Watershed,"
guitarist John Stein's 15th recording and 11th for Whaling City Sound, Stein, and his simpatico band realize this set of deep grooves with remarkable clarity. Aided by the considerable talents of his band, including Frank Herzberg (bass), Zé Eduardo Nazario (drums), Daniel Grajew (keyboards), and Teco Cardoso (flute and saxes), Stein manages to reveal the magic hiding in these grooves and rhythms. Each of Stein's accompanists contribute to that discovery, especially on tunes like the warm "Rio Escuro," the quiet sassy funk of Pat Martino's "Cisco," and the breezily melodic "Wally." Stein, about to retire from his decades-long teaching career at Berklee (also his alma mater) in order to play music full time, demonstrates a sturdy resolve to lay bare the soul and the spirit of these songs, as well as the delicate beauty in his band's performance. Watershed is suffused with lyricism and artistic clarity as he raises the bar for his own future visions.