Guitarist Jeff Richman has worked in the highest echelons of electric jazz for the last two decades, distinguishing himself over a productive career that has spawned more than twelve solo titles and twice as many guest appearances. Recently, he's found a new niche; mastermind producer / arranger / player / instigator of the electric jazz tribute/compilation. Jeff has spearheaded no fewer than three ripping, yet somehow discerning, paeans to Miles, 'Trane and Mahavishnu issued, it seems, en masse,in the last year. Funny, he 's also recently found at work on, but not at the helm of, the two Jimi Hendrix ...read more
Trumpeter Miles Davis shifted gears so many times during his forty-year career that doing a proper tribute which covers the entire time frame represents a distinct challenge. Perhaps that's why many artists have focused on specific periods in their Miles tributes. Producer Gary Guthrie put a new spin on Kind of Blue with A New Kind of Blue, while trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and guitarist Henry Kaiser's Yo Miles! project has released three sets inspired by Miles' '70s electric period. Even trumpeter Wallace Roney, while not recording a tribute album per se, has taken one of Miles' mid-'60s albums, Nefertiti, ...read more
Tribute albums are a risky undertaking. You need to be respectful without being too imitative. You need to demonstrate the impact of the artist(s) while at the same time showing how things have moved forward. In a nutshell, you need to be relevant and reverent without coming off as simply a poor carbon copy.
Paying respect to John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra presents an even greater challenge than most. For one thing, drummer Gregg Bendian's fine Mahavishnu Project has already delivered some serious homage, most recently on the live release Phase 2 and at the Vishnu-Fest in New York. But even ...read more
Contemporary jazz pays homage to John Coltrane on this soulful album of favored memories. Wired for action and primed for powerful results, eight fusion guitarists interpret this set of standards with alacrity. Each featured artist, supported by Larry Goldings, Alfonso Johnson and Tom Brechtlein, tackles a different track. The organ-bass-drums groove gives each guitarist a wide palette with which to explore.
Mike Stern interprets My Favorite Things" with the same breathless stamina that Coltrane gave us. His fluid melodic lines overlap one another as he delicately lays one phrase on top of another. Reappearing for Equinox," Stern once ...read more
The brotherhood of L.A. fusion’s finest, Volume Two. The first collection of live recordings by guitarist Jeff Richman and compadres, taped at the Baked Potato in Hollywood, was issued by Tone Center in March 2001 and reviewed here in June. This second compendium of hot jazz-rock jams is well up to par with the first batch, certainly more than mere studio floor-sweepings.
As with Volume 1, Richman is the sole constant here. He’s surrounded by different jazz buddies on each track, making for some intriguing combinations that usually work out quite well. There is more of a straight-ahead jazz vibe ...read more
With the second installment of West Coast-based guitarist Jeff Richman’s “Live At The Baked Potato Volume Two”, the artist offers more jazz/fusion/rock pieces culled from a series of spontaneous gatherings among many of California’s most notable session musicians, group leaders and solo artists. Perhaps a bit less affecting than the previous release, as Richman once again leads various ensembles through a series of spontaneously organized standards and original compositions, recorded live at this famous Los Angeles jazz venue.
Richman’s arsenal includes sustained extended notes, legato chord progressions, nimble plucking and animated lead soloing, evidenced on the opener, “Kamaroon”, where he ...read more
Fusion’s finest come together to jam the night(s) away. In 1999, not long after Justin Randi (son of pianist/clubowner Don) opened the second Baked Potato in Hollywood, he and guitarist Jeff Richman discussed the idea of occasionally bringing some of the top names in contemporary jazz into the club to perform with Richman. That plan was soon inaugurated to favorable reviews, and many of the stellar shows were taped for posterity’s sake. Finally, those tapes are seeing the light of day thanks to the visionary Tone Center label.
This is the first of a projected duo of discs documenting Richman’s ...read more