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Reviewed May 2005

This Is Hip Graffiti
This Is Hip Graffiti
By Hip Graffiti

NoteFarm Music: 2005

To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends visiting HipGraffiti.com.

In their publicity materials, Hip Graffiti makes the rather less-than-breathless claim to be "one of Oceanside's premier jazz bands." Well, such ostentatious claims can hardly go unchallenged – even if, as we suspect, it turns out that Hip Graffiti is the only jazz band in Oceanside, Calif.

A couple listens to their new CD, "This Is Hip Graffiti," offers enough evidence to suggest that the band might want to nudge their publicist to raise the bar a tad. Truth is, this is one of the best jazz bands in the San Diego region – and in our jazz-rich environment, that's saying something.

Guitarist Jay Myerson and vocalist Carol Fuller provide a rich yet accessible sound for Hip Graffiti's run through standards and lesser-known chestnuts. The small rhythm section of bassist Wendy Hrehovcsik and percussionist Warren Bryant lay down a smooth but solid foundation for Myerson and Fuller to play atop.

Stylistically, Hip Graffiti is a contemporary straight-ahead band with traces of Brazilian and r&b. Myerson plays a hollow-body guitar; it's got that patented fat sound, but with a bit of an edge to it – closer to Barney Kessel than George Benson.

Fuller's voice sounds a bit on the thin side at times here, but she's spot-on in terms of timing and technique.

The play list ranges from the tried-and-true ("I Get a Kick (Out of You)," "A Foggy Day," "Stella by Starlight") to Brazil's Antonio Carlos Jobim ("Corcovado," "Vivo Sonhando," "Meditation") to some unfamiliar treats ("Softly As in a Morning Sunrise," Djavan's "Flor de Lis"). The approach in each case is respectful but not reverential; these are songs to be played, not museum pieces to be worshipped.

Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).

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