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Album Review

Uffe Steen: Play

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Uffe Steen, the 47-year-old Danish guitarist, rips it up on this new live record, culled from three European performances in mid-September of last year. Steen is joined by his countryman Lennart Ginman on double bass and none other than Adam Nussbaum on drums. Nussbaum, of course, has logged many hours backing major American axemen like Mike Stern, John Scofield, and John Abercrombie. While Steen has much in common with these rock-influenced heavy hitters, he really doesn’t sound like them at all. If anything, he’s even more unapologetically rock-n-roll, as the opening track, "Mac Riff," makes clear right away. Slinging his left-handed Telecaster, Steen makes use of a bright, overdriven tone and a string-bending élan that owes much to Clapton, Beck, and Hendrix. And yet on "Summertime," "Solar," and his original ballads "Song for Alice" and "A Silent Moment in Corone," he displays loads of jazz savvy with his hip lines and unpredictable harmonic moves. Steen’s a happening stylist, bringing to mind Wayne Krantz and Ed Littman, although his music is a good deal more "inside" than that would suggest.

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