Press for "Evolution"
Fusion guitarist Jake Hertzog is one of a kind. His tracks are consumed by a rush of thunderous bursts and reflective meanderings that keep the music congealed. His third solo CD, Evolution is a collection of original tunes topped by a remake of Bruce Springsteen's hit song "Streets of Philadelphia." Produced by Hertzog's bassist Harvie S, Evolution is a body of work that moves through a series of natural transitions taking the album from one phase to the next along Hertzog's journey through softy, wispy tendrils and craggy knolls.
The chord distortions freckling "Timeline" are supported by processed beats while the lo-fi/ hi fi atmospherics strewn across "Don't Bother" builds up to a showering crescendo before being lowered into a comfy lull. Hertzog's reworked production of Springsteen's "Streets of Philadelphia" has a traveling rhythm fastened to picturesque guitar effects and chord dynamics which morph it into an entirely new song. A flare for striking ascents, Hertzog cinches the thundering bursts along "Gloria" with rock-inspired improvisations liken to Pat Metheny and buffered by slinky orchestral accents. The gritty texture of the guitar chords in "Renegade" give the track a raw, rugged finish which softens to easy listening riffage ambling along "Common Ground" as Victor Jones' drumming in "Solar Flare" produces a frothy effect roving along the melodic motions.
Jake Hertzog's new album Evolution demonstrates his prowess as a pivotal guitarist on fusion's landscape. The sleek articulation in the chord transitions and the gradual tightening in the chord patterns show a rigorous workout regiment on the guitar's strings. Evolution exhibits the current phase of jazz fu8ion and Hertzog's place in it. His exuberance about treading this path is palpable and resonates in every track.
Susan Frances, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Evolution is the third solo outing from guitarist Jake Hertzog, Guitar Player Magazine contributor and member of the rock band, The Young Presidents. Although the album appears weighted towards jazz fusion, it is the rock-inflected phrases woven into the music that saves it from running into all-too-familiar jazz guitar footprints. The generational sound of this recording is only slightly more youthful than Marc Ribot or Nels Cline, its title referring, perhaps, to the advancement of an unapologetic brand of jazz-rock guitar that does not look back.
Hertzog does, however, rely on the traditionally experienced to assist with his message: producer Harvie S plays both electric and acoustic bass, along with some keyboards; and legendary jazz drummer Victor Jones plays very comfortably in the mix without even the slightest hint of being out of place. Hertzog benefits from multi-track overdubbing, working piercing lead lines smoothly over his smartly crafted jazz rhythm chords.
Things kick off, on "Don't Bother," with scraping strings, crunchy chords, and metallic runs. There is a sense of fun on "Timeline," with power chords sandwiched into the respite spots of its pumping, stop/start funk. Hertzog takes a pastoral and reflective approach on Bruce Springsteen's "Philadelphia," his sense of lyricism shining through. "Gloria" features a jittery single-note attack pattern that respectfully evokes the sensibilities of guitarist Joe Morris, while Hertzog's challenging range is demonstrated on the aptly titled "Renegade."
With familiarity breeding enough contempt in the jazz guitar market, newer sounds are always welcome. Not being shy about rock and experimentation gives Hertzog an edge in his composition and execution. Expectations have now been set from this guitarist's fresh voice, with Evolution easily one of the best jazz-rock guitar CDs of 2011.
Mark Redlefsen allaboutjazz.com
Jake Hertzog, now with a handful of recordings under his belt, is one of the very few prolific young guitarists to convincingly embrace the potential of blending a jazz and rock style of performing. What stands out in Hertzog's playing, aside from a comprehensive knowledge of his instrument, is a willingness, regardless of style, to put it all on the line. Hertzog doesn't hold back on Evolution, his third release with Buckyball Records. The recording has moments of jazz-infused exploration ("Don't Bother") and all-out rock with hard-driving, distorted rhythms ("Renegade," "Solar Flare"). Hertzog utilizes a variety of effects to illuminate rhythmic chord clustering and blistering single-note runs. Bruce Springsteen's "Streets of Philadelphia," the disc's only cover, is given a plaintive acoustic rendering, bringing out the beauty of the tune's simplicity.
As with his previous trio releases, Hertzog wisely surrounds himself with veterans who can just as easily change course. Bassist Harvie S co-produces and contributes on both upright and electric bass. Drummer Victor Jones has an electrifying presence.
John Barron thejazzword.blogspot.com
O's Notes: Guitarist Jake Herzog, bassist Harvie S and drummer Victor Jones combine to perform nine originals b y Jake along with a cover of Springsteen's "Streets of Philadelphia". It is jazz-fusion that rocks with intensity that is made more palatable by rounding the edges. We enjoyed "Firefly" and "Timeline" most in a set that will fully engage the progressive rock crowd.
D. Oscar Groomes O's Place Jazz Magazine>
The natural experimental guitar heir to Michael Hedges is back with another set that seems to round off the rough edges and present him in more of friendly, accessible forum. Ready to leave the cult ranks behind, especially since racking up a load of awards and accolades and getting wider recognition, Hertzog is still very comfortable pushing the edge farther out in ways that would make Satch and Vai proud. He’s well on his way to being the Coltrane of guitar and this latest set really blows the ears wide open. This is progressive jazz/rock for ears actively looking for new kicks that won’t let them down. Well done. Chris Spector Mid-West Records