Jack Wilkins - Until It's Time ( Max Jazz 606 )

Veteran jazzer Jack Wilkins has always been under appreciated despite his command of various styles of Jazz guitar. On his latest effort, he expands a bit to include a mastery of fine pop tunes, and even a trip into classical music with his take on Beethoven's Fur Elise, which gets a solo verse or two and chamber treatment that takes a different road. Not surprisingly, Wilkins plays wonderfully on jazz cuts like “Show Me” a lightswinger that shows off his chops. His ballad work is showcased on “Two for the Road”. Sonny Rollins “Airegin” features imaginative soloing, and the surprising element on this record is how Wilkins arranges the pop tunes. Who would dream of Christopher Cross “Arthur's Theme” could become a latin piece that swings hard and accentuates the melody before Wilkins takes it to places Cross never dreamt. “Blossom”, a James Taylor chestnut from Sweet Baby James, lets Wilkins and pianist Jon Cowherd display their tremendous interaction. As always, Wilkins solos goes places you'd never expect, especially for that particular tune. There is also a cover of Buffy Sainte-Marie's “Until It's Time For You To Go” that let's him pull out a nylon string acoustic.
While the choice of tunes here is occasionally surprising,Wilkins strong playing never comes as a shock.