So today we have Isaac Darche, a post-bop guitar player of great skill, technique, finesse, imagination. He puts together an excellent quintet and gives us much fine music on his album Team & Variation (Challenge 73395).
What makes this album so intriguing? The five Darche compositions are exemplary models with complex lines and interesting changes. The three standards are well handled as well. The band members all have the ability to make excellent music in the post-bop vein. Isaac Darche is the consummate weaver of line-twisting spells, a master of balance and velocity, an inventive, inspired technician who has much soul and feeling and a sense of form he brings to the solo situation quite well. He has found very compatible counterparts in the front line in Chad Lefkowitz-Brown on tenor and Glenn Zaleski on piano, the latter who comps with flair, a kind of post-Hancockian sophistication. The bass-drums team of Desmond White and E. J. Strickland are superior as well. They swing mightily and internalize the compositional forms and give back creatively. Everybody does that really, but the rhythm sets the pace and makes it all pop.
Darche is one of those players who brings his considerable "A" game to every song, giving us some variations that always seem inspired. But there is much good soloing all around.
This is a disk I would go so far to say is stunningly good. Darche is a monster and he surrounds himself with just the right kind of companions to get his vision soaring. Excellent!