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Steve Khan/Rob Mounsey: You Are Here

Douglas Payne By

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Guitarist Steve Khan and keyboardist Rob Mounsey first recorded together on Khan's 1979 LP, Arrows (Columbia), then collaborated in 1987 on Local Color (Denon). Individually, they logged in loads of studio time with Chaka Khan, Billy Joel, Carly Simon and Madonna and worked together again with Donald Fagen and on several Steely Dan records. Since then, Khan has developed into a strong improviser, turning out several worthwhile solo efforts like the recent Got My Mental (Evidence) and Mounsey, whose debut record was issued in 1990, records infrequently with his Flying Monkey Orchestra.

This 1998 reunion finds the pair exploring contemporary fusion moods spiced with the exotica of Brazilian and Latin climes. Mounsey's imaginatively orchestral keyboards often set the pace (percussionist Marc Quinones is also added on five of the eight tracks). But You Are Here is clearly a showcase for Khan's fine work on steel and nylon-stringed acoustic guitar. He's well featured on the pair's "Peanut Soup" and his own "Anhelante." Other highlights include the funky "Clafouti" and the Latinate "Platanos Maduros."

It becomes distracting when Mounsey tends toward sandy-beach kaleidoscopes similar to Lyle Mays. The overall effect, especially on "Fazendeiro," "Pallbearers" and "Viajar Y Viajar" then become very Pat Metheny like. But these two, like Metheny and Mays or Bob James and Earl Klugh, seem to have quite an appealing chemistry, which makes the well-produced You Are Here an often worthwhile contemporary fusion disc.

Players:Steve Khan: acoustic guitars; Rob Mounsey: keyboards, voice, percussion; Marc Quinones: timbales, congas, bongos.

Songs:Clafouti; Fazendeiro; Platanos Maduros; Still Life With Mockingbird; Peanut Soup; Pallbearers; Viajar Y Viajar; Anhelante.

| Record Label: SIAM Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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