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Guitarist Joe Fuentes CD "Joe Fuentes Goes MP3" is a somewhat pleasant, but not a terribly involving, recording. His guitar and sound is a take on the Peter White formula, although he overuses the drum machines and lacks White's talent for composing memorable tunes. Therein lies most of the problem with this album. The songs, mainly written by Fuentes, lack any real excitement, and are largely forgettable as a result. In fact, halfway through the disc, déjà vu sets in, and you think you've already heard the current song a few tracks earlier.
The album rides along on a relatively even keel, opening with the rather tepid "Dr. Kilo" (I would have expected more excitement from an opening track), and runs through the usual Smooth Jazz paces with the nylon string guitar and drum machine on a collection of rather ordinary ballads. It doesn't help that the accompaniment is rather lifeless itself. Perhaps it’s in the mix? A few tracks do stand out to break the monotony: "Elegancias" manages to stir up some excitement with it's Samba rhythms, and "Hangin' Out" at least uses some piano to offset the over use of nylon string guitar throughout most of the album. It’s rather a shame that Fuentes' guitar playing is as repressed as it is here; he’s a decent musician, but with some better accompaniment and more interesting songwriting that put some life into the recordings, I think he could shine a great deal more. As it stands, this seems to be nothing more than standard Smooth Jazz radio fodder, an unfortunate rut that many players fall into. Pass on this one.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.