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Sheryl Bailey: Little Misunderstood

AAJ Staff By

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Pittsburgh, PA native, Sheryl Bailey knows how to serve up frenzied fusion guitar/guitar synth, deliver sultry, hot grooves, and deftly handle jazz standards. She tips her pick and pen to the harmonics and compositional, solo-laden works of Mike Stern or Chick Corea. She hangs tight, delivers punchy, and remains breathlessly fluid in her stylings. Her varied guitar voicings allow a wide range of expression and therefore extended listener interest levels — in a word, variety. At times you might think another guitarist is guesting but it is all Bailey and Bailey, channel to channel, effects magic.

“Honk” and “Enigma” get the show on with roller coaster speed, twists, and turns of great guitar pyrotechnics and awesome bass work by Vince Loving. Adrian Green drums himself into near oblivion.George Colligan tears the keys apart. Chris Battistone shines, wails, squeaks that muted Miles Davis hip-chant on trumpet, setting the stage on “Go Go A Go Go” for more slick Bailey groovathonics. “Nardis” has ringing bell, string-resonant harmonics accenting a very Metheny/ jazz standards piece that straight-up jazzers will dig. In the same mellow saunter, brushes on skins, standards mode, Bailey covers “Caravan” expertly with an eerie, echo-laden background of whispery guitar? synth’ed reverb that crawls all around her clean-voiced playing. Phaser, flanger feedback, rack-mount slicktronics, solid guitar, brilliant trumpet, drums and bass of perfection make this a truly unique cover.

“Gus” is strongly Mike “Sterno” and has Bailey screamin’ in that slightly overdriven, a smidgen delayed, hugely present axe-voice. More superbly, ghostly, ambient effects are swirling around in the background, (guitar synth/keys? I presume), with excellent keys again by Colligan. I could easily go on — dissecting each track, mentioning the ten musicians accompanying Bailey but — I sum it up here to say five more tracks of expert and satisfying guitar-driven gems await you. If you dig fusion and/or straight-ahead jazz, you need to get this collector’s item release by Bailey. Good luck finding it. You’ll be pleased you did. Get a touch of Scott Henderson, Jeff Beck, Hendrix, Clapton too if you listen close. It’s all happenin’ here. Sheryl, you do lay it down too cool.

Contact/ Purchase info: 364 W. 23rd St. #2F NY, NY 10011 Ph: 212-332-0063


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