The Florida based Modern Guitar Quintet was formed by Carl Amundson and Dan Crowley in 1997 and was dedicated to the performance of jazz which has a modern bent. Back to Business is their second release with a program of original compositions. There are three guitar players in the quintet, one of whom, Dan Crowley, doubles on flute. This is one of those albums where the virtuosity in the playing, individually and in ensemble, carries the album rather than the play list. That these guitarists are masters of their trade comes through immediately. But as the album moves along, one starts to ask "didn't I hear this already?". That's one of the problems these types of groups face, making the music sufficiently varied to sustain, as here, almost 50 minutes of music. This is not to say there aren't any meritorious compositions. A simply stated "Evening at Franks" is a lovely ballad where each guitar member of the quintet gets a chance in the solo spotlight. "Eyes" swings along at a brisk pace with an attention-getting melody line while "Down Home" has a down home blues taste. But overall the distinctions between the pieces are so subtle that for the non guitar specialists they may be difficult to sort through. Next time this group would be better served if they added a pop or jazz standard or two to provide an opportunity for the general jazz listener to experience the full effect of their guitar expertise. A nice touch is that the soloists on each cut are identified in their order of appearance.
The first jazz record I bought was a Verve compilation of 10 LPs! I saved for more than six months and gave it to myself as a
Christmas present. I was about 18 years old. Since then, my love for jazz has taken me to program the only jazz radio station in
Mexico City, Horizonte 107.9 FM.