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While the music he chooses to play isn’t always to my liking, Pete McCann is an enormously talented guitarist who cleverly splashes intense colors across an expansive musical canvas. He’s also something of a chameleon, shrewdly modifying style and substance to mirror the requirements of each composition. So it is that on one track he may call to mind Wes Montgomery, Tal Farlow or Kenny Burrell, while on others there’ll be echoes of artists as diverse as Larry Coryell, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, Sonny Sharrock or Blood Ulmer. The real Pete McCann is abiding somewhere in the package, and it’s my guess that his comprehensive point of view embraces all of those players and more. While he may seem irresolute, he’s certainly not stuck in a creative rut. McCann wrote everything on Parable, his debut as leader, and his compositions are as wide–ranging and picturesque as his playing. Some, like “Patricia,” “Gone,” “Search” and “Parable,” are as lovely as any you’re likely to encounter. McCann’s wilder and more impulsive persona emerges on such items as “Grimlock,” “Hoevenen” and “Victim Sweepstakes,” while “Hoedown” and “Open Gate” are good–humored down–the–fairway swingers. Epstein, who appears on seven selections, and Huron, who performs on three, are competent post–boppers who provide a durable counterweight to McCann’s guitar. Lefebvre and Wilson are similarly productive, although Wilson has a tendency to step on McCann’s toes during some of his solos (at least, that’s my impression; the quieter a drummer is behind a solo guitar, the louder my applause). As I said, not everything here is as welcome to me as chocolate ice cream, but it’s all nourishing, and should present a mouth–watering treat for those who prefer a wider variety of flavors.
Track listing: Grimlock; Parable; Mind Bender; Open Gate; Patricia; Gone; Hoedown; Final Passing; Search; Victim Sweepstakes; Hoevenen; Sheriff Bob (65:11).
Pete McCann, electric and acoustic guitar; Peter Epstein, soprano, alto saxophone; Bruce Huron, tenor sax; Tim Lefebvre, acoustic and electric bass; Matt Wilson, drums, percussion.
Contact: Palmetto Records, 71 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011 (phone 800
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.