How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
It's hard to pinhole the music of Askold Buk. Though the highly accomplished and versatile electric guitarist (and author of several books on guitar technique) engages in some impressive improvising on this self-titled release, it's far from a straight-ahead jazz record. It's more a melange of different styles - a little rock, a little jazz, some blues, a bit of world beat, a dash of funk - mixed together to create an original instrumental sound.
Many of Buk's compositions have a highly cinematic feel - not surprising, since his work has been featured in film before. Songs like "Iguana" - think Steely Dan with a twist of country twang - sound lifted from an evocative soundtrack to some imaginary movie. The smooth, romantic "Without You," featuring some nice muted trumpet work from Ken Fradley, sounds like a pop-soul single just waiting for lyrics to be added. "One More Bar" includes some truly remarkable guitar work in the mode of Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler. Though Buk's guitar playing is always exceptionally clean and under control, he does allow himself to throw down some hard funk on "Big Slinky," and play some mean blues on "A.F.B." and "Downtime."
Backed by the steady bass and drums of Gene Eames and Brian Shanley, plus occasional horns and keyboards, Buk proves he can handle himself well in virtually any musical context.
Personnel: Askold Buk, guitar; Gene Eames, bass; Brian Shanley, drums; Ken Fradley, trumpet; Charlie Giordano, keyboards; Jack Waltrip, tenor sax; Bob Sherwin, alto sax; Greg Wichtel, harmonica.