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Jeff Richman & Friends: A Guitar Supreme: Giant Steps In Fusion Guitar

Jim Santella By

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Jeff Richman & Friends: A Guitar Supreme: Giant Steps In Fusion Guitar 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 again issues fluid cascades that recall Coltrane's "sheets of sound." Robben Ford dishes out the blues on Coltrane's "Village Blues." His intimate approach makes you feel right at home.

Frank Gambale interprets "Naima" and "Lazy Bird" with a smooth jazz texture. While his melodic opening and closing statements could lull you to sleep, Gambale fills the center section of each piece with a high-energy, fast-forward passion that sizzles. Known for his burning dexterity, the guitarist demonstrates that very quality here despite the smooth jazz flavor of this outing.

Larry Coryell burns with a sizzling "Satellite," while Steve Lukather provides a funk-fest over "Crescent." Greg Howe interprets "Mr. Syms" and "Giant Steps" with traditional jazz/fusion authority, while Eric Johnson strolls sternly through a contemporary interpretation of "Resolution." Jeff Richman, who performs three classic tunes, lights a few fires along the way. Paying homage to John Coltrane directly—and Jimi Hendrix indirectly—these eight fusion guitarists give us a recommended tribute album.

Track Listing: Resolution; Afro Blue; Crescent; Giant Steps; My Favorite Things; Naima; Mr. Syms; Central Park West / Your Lady; Equinox; Village Blues; Lazy Bird; Satellite.

Personnel: Eric Johnson, Jeff Richman, Steve Lukather, Greg Howe, Mike Stern, Frank Gambale, Robben Ford, Larry Coryell- guitar; Larry Goldings- organ; Alfonso Johnson- bass; Tom Brechtlein- drums.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Tone Center | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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