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SOCAL JAZZ

Mike Stern: Half Crazy

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SoCal Jazz is back from safari to the auspicious Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. A follow-up with guitarist Mike Stern was the primary itinerary for this trip. Trip is the name of Stern's new record, just in case you missed the play on words. Unfortunately, Stern had a trip of another kind in 2016. How it happened, the devastating injuries sustained, how it has impacted his playing and more were detailed in Mike Stern: What A Trip, from earlier ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

Jim Worsley's Best Releases of 2017

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As 2017 was another exceptional year in new music, choosing the recordings that rise above is a daunting task. It is also a lot of fun. Yes, such “drudgery" to listen to countless strong musical efforts from artists all over the world. The vast spectrum of seasoned pros, to new blood, and everything in between provided a jazz lover's earful. In random order here are my top 17 for '17. Diana Krall Turn Up The Quiet ...

SOCAL JAZZ

Mike Stern: What A Trip

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"I never trip. I just don't. But then, it just happened." This is how Mike Stern began his story as he explained to my wife and I how it happened. If you somehow missed it, “it" refers to the tumble Stern took in July of 2016. This accidental fall resulting in both shoulders being shattered. In addition to the broken humerus bones and broken arms, he suffered serious nerve damage in his right arm and right hand.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Stern: Trip

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In the blink of an eye an accident can happen and when it does it can be a life-altering event. Think of a brain surgeon or a pro quarterback. Think of what it would mean it they suffered some sort of injury which made it impossible to grasp a scalpel or throw a football with the same accuracy as before. Then think of what it an accident like that means for Mike Stern. On July 3, 2016, the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Stern: Trip

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Having established himself as an imaginative technical wizard in the forefront of the fusion movement during the 1980's, guitarist Mike Stern has left an indelible mark on the way the instrument is utilized in the jazz idiom. But there would be an unforeseen event that would test his physical and emotional will to overcome adversity. In July of 2016 Stern suffered a serious accident when he tripped over construction debris leaving his apartment in New York City. This led to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Stern: All Over The Place

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Guitarist Mike Stern projected a stylish, chops-heavy impression on the general jazz populous during his auspicious entry into the circuit, supporting jazz-fusion era Miles Davis. Indeed, one of the more distinctive guitarists spanning several decades, the artist enlists a who's who of current bass greats amid appearances by longtime associates, trumpeter Randy Brecker and former Davis drummer Al Foster. With a proverbial star-studded cast, Stern ventures into non-jazz circles, covering blues, West African themes, country rock, and other genres.

LIVE REVIEWS

Mike Stern And Kenny Garrett at Iridium, New York

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Mike Stern and Kenny GarrettIridiumNew York, New YorkDecember 31, 2008

It is New Year's Eve, and the temperature shown on the buildings around Time Square as minus 12!... I had just seen Mike Stern, jazz-fusion guitarist extraordinaire, at Broadway's Iridium jazz club. To get there, I had to sacrifice a backpack, leaving it nearby as police would not allow entrants to the closed-off area, including clubs like Iridium, for the New Year's Eve celebrations to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Yellowjackets with Mike Stern: Lifecycle

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For the better part of three decades, Yellowjackets have insisted and persisted on doing things their own way and by themselves. So it's fitting that when they deviate from their normal approach and bring in guitarist Mike Stern, the resulting project is titled Lifecycle. The first Yellowjackets recording in fifteen years to feature a guitarist, Lifecycle brings together two powerhouses in modern music. The quartet of Russell Ferrante, Jimmy Haslip, Bob Mintzer and Marcus Baylor has stood the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Stern: Who Let the Cats Out?

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Mike Stern has outdone himself with Who Let the Cats Out?, the award-winning, three-time Grammy-nominated guitarist's thirteenth release as a leader. This collection of jazz, rock, blues and funk styles is comprised of eleven original songs. The title is both a playful tribute to Stern's wife, who loves cats, and the free expression displayed in the music. Born in Boston and reared in Washington, DC, Stern began his career as a guitarist with Blood, Sweat & Tears. ...