Photo- Michael Stewart

John Escobar has lived in Colombia, Ecuador and Kenya. He absorbed musical influences as he went along – rock, funk and salsa – and mastered acoustic and electric guitar and percussion. Along the way he developed a passion and a distinctive talent for straight-ahead jazz that forms the nucleus of this project.“While We’re Young” is a comfortable confluence, the serendipitous outcome of Escobar’s studies at Berklee College, his meeting with Tom Mindte of Patuxent Records, his work as a recording engineer for Patuxent, and the dynamic blend of outstanding artists that drifted into the studio to work with Escobar as he moved
back and forth from the microphone to the recording console.

Of his ensemble Escobar says: “Paul Joyner, my co-producer, is among the best bassists I‘ve ever played with. Jacob Teichcrowe and Justin Wolfe are great musicians who usually play classical. Katrina Dykes was a fellow Berklee student with a beautiful, natural voice.”

“Nate Leath is one of the best players I’ve ever met. He can pick up on any kind of music you throw at him and make it sound like nothing you’ve ever heard.” “Playing with drummer Anders Eliasson is easy
because you can do whatever you want and always know that the time is right there when you come back.” “Tom Mindte is masterful on the mandolin - knows what sound he wants and gets it right away.”

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As a player, Escobar navigates through hisproduction like a welcome but tactful guest. Under his command we hear jazz guitar in itsnatural habitat. No showboating. When Escobar steps up to the spotlight completely alone, as inAll the Things You Are or the hauntingly evocative Dove Song, he’s a power-house of pent-up energies. But there’s no clutter - he always leaves clear space between the notes. As producer/engineer he seeks out the best sound from everybody and brings it to the fore when he hears it, whether it’s the depth and intensity of Katrina Dykes’ vocals (You Don’t Know What Love Is, God Bless the Child, Feel Like Making Love), or Teichrowe’s effortless flow on the sax throughout. Nate Leath’s twists and turns on violin and the attack of Mindte’s skirling mandolin on Robin’s Nest contribute a dynamic that echoes the bright spontaneity of a 1930s recording.

Underpinning everything is Wolfe’s spotless rhythm and the authoritative bass of Paul Joyner (electric and stand-up), who also takes a hand on keyboard and piano. Escobar’s production skills are at their height in Feel Like Making Love, about which he comments, “I added a lot of layers of electric guitar on the chorus section and here and there because I wanted us to sound like a bigger band on this song. I added percussion and Paul added keys, all to get that big funk feeling.” With “While We’re Young,” producer/guitarist John Escobar fulfills the criteria laid down by the incomparable pianist Oscar Peterson: “It’s the group sound that’s important, even when you’re playing a solo. You not only have to know your own instrument, you must know the others and how to back them up at all times. That’s jazz.”

You Dont Know What Love Is * All The Things You Are *. God Bless the Child Dove Song * Feel Like Makin’ Love * While We're Young
You've Changed * Robbin's Nest *

JOHN ESCOBAR Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Percussion
PAUL JOYNER Acoustic Bass, Electric Bass, Piano, Keyboards
On "Robbin's Nest"