Joe Fuentes: Acoustic Trio

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

As Joe Fuentes states in the liner notes to his recording, "the nylon string guitar has made a comeback into the more popular forms of music." Classically-trained and broadly-influenced, the guitarist combines from many musical genres, but settles with the smoother, more adult-oriented side of modern popular music that some refer to as New Adult Contemporary, and others refer to as Contemporary or Smooth Jazz.

With soothing melodic lines and gentle undercurrents, the session blends smooth jazz, as one would associate with singer Michael Franks or guitarist Peter White, with the arbitrary label "Cool Jazz" that one may associate with two of Fuentes' influences, guitarists Wes Montgomery and George Benson. Fuentes composed all the tracks, and the overdubbed bass lines, sustained keyboard color, and percussion effects, were supplied by Fuentes as well. The lullaby "Hush" and the gentle cry "Song for Peace" provide examples of the smooth jazz connection; "After Dinner" provides several of the guitar elements associated with either Montgomery or Benson.

"Letters" is performed without accompaniment and serves as the session highlight. Fuentes shows that he is a lyrical guitarist, letting notes ring to their fruition and phrasing as if he were singing the melody. "Elegancias," with its subtle references to the Miles Davis / Gil Evans Sketches of Spain collaboration, demonstrates the guitarist's experienced technique. With a session that all but ignores dissonance, maintains a constant volume level, and perpetuates rhythmic repetitiveness, Acoustic Trio is suited for the listener who wants something pleasant to relax to. (You can find more information about Joe Fuentes' recording athttp://www.dnai.com/~fuentesj , or by writing to Joe Fuentes, P.O. Box 642333, San Francisco, California 94161-2333.

Track Listing:

Summer's Here; D'angle; Hazel Eyes; Tuesday's Song; Elegancias; Letters; Song for Peace; Friends; After Dinner; Hush.

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream

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