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Royce Campbell: Six By Six (2004)

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Royce Campbell: Six By Six How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

During the first half of the 1990s, guitarist Royce Campbell produced a series of tribute albums to Wes Montgomery. These sessions appeared on Campbell's own Paddlewheel Records, which was a subsidiary of the Japanese King label. They were released in the United States on Evidence. At that time, Royce Campbell was approached regarding a new project that would team the guitarist with five leading jazz plectrists of his choice. The resulting album, 6 X 6, featuring Campbell in performance with John Abercrombie, Larry Coryell, Pat Martino, Bucky Pizzarelli and Dave Stryker, was released in 1994 in Japan and later in Europe to critical praise. One decade later, the album is finally being made available in the US, retitled Six By Six.

Each of the guest guitarists is given two tracks apiece with, essentially, their own bassist and drummer, and Royce Campbell is the second guitarist on each of the selections, providing rhythm and the opportunity to trade fours with the respective players. Considering the range and experience of these guitarists, all are playing in a mainstream style. Perhaps the biggest surprise is Dave Stryker, who since the early 1980s has shown a distinct blues jazz influence per his association with Stanley Turrentine and Jack McDuff. On both Bill Evans' "Interplay" and "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise," Stryker is a lyrical treat. Larry Coryell, who is quite comfortable in a variety of jazz guitar settings, shines on "Happy Blues" and "Love for Sale." John Abercrombie displays a typical blurred note delivery on his selections, while Bucky Pizzarelli shows his expertise with round, warm notes on the ballad "Darn That Dream" and then a swinging "Dancing on the Ceiling." Pat Martino, who has garnered even more success since this recording date, shows his technical prowess on a lovely bossa version of "Naima" and the Miles Davis standard "Milestones."

Royce Campbell has also recorded five other independent albums in a small group setting and with strings, plus an additional tribute to Charlie Byrd. Perhaps it is now time for him to reach a wider audience.

Track Listing: Happy Blues, Love For Sale, Milestones, Naima, Angular Blues, Day Into Night, Interplay, Softly,As In A Morning Sunrise, Darn That Dream, Dancing On The Ceiling.

Personnel: Aggregate Personnel: Royce Campbell, Larry Coryell, Pat Martino, John Abercrombie, Dave Stryker, Bucky Pizzarelli, guitars; Ugona Okegwo, Essiet Essiet, Bill Moring or Lynn Seaton,bass; Bill Drummond, Marcello Pellitteri or Joe Cocuzzo,drums.

Record Label: Moon Cycle

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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