Passionate compositions/playing from a true guitar god.
Greg | Alpena, MI | 12/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can't believe no one's reviewed this yet; this is one of my favorate CDs. It is totally instrumental and lies about half in the smooth jazz vein and half in the tweaked harmony fusion vein ( a la Michael Brecker ).If you've never heard Stern before and you're a fan of great rock guitar, this could be a great intro to fusion for you. Mike plays a Telecastor guitar and burns with a rock player's tone and urgency, while possesing a jazz player's harmonic sense. Stern was Miles Davis' guitarist for a while and it's easy to see what Miles heard in his playing.Playing aside, however, Stern is in that rare circle of virtuoso guitarists whose compositions equal the calibur of the playing. Belive me, this guy could make a living in the music buisness being solely a composer. While able to write in the jazz/fusion vein very well (Walkie Talkie, Odds or Evens), I think Stern has a unique gift for coming up with simple, heart-wrenchingly beautiful material (Common Ground, If You Say So). Sandbox is a tune penned by his wife, Leni, and it is absolutely gorgeous.This disc is a highly varied collection of well written, well played songs. Whether you're into jazz/fusion or you just appreciate virtuoso musicianship (all the backing players are incredible too), buy this album. It's a steal at Amazon's price."
Probably Stern's masterpiece
Randy Norman | Brandon, MS USA | 01/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this CD based on hearing Stern's "Upside Downside". While I still enjoy that recording, I feel this is a much broader range of composition and musicianship. There is a calmness and self-assurance in the songs and the playing, even in the more aggressive tunes.One thing that comes across in some of the songs is humor, especially in 'DC' and 'Odds or Evens'. The latter features one of the most brilliantly idiotic saxophone solos you'll ever hear. It's hard to explain what makes certain musical notes "funny", but if you're not laughing loudly halfway through this solo, you don't have a sense of humor! And the bass in the background-OH! It's like a terrier that's biting your ankles while you're trying to detach the cat that's leapt onto your head. There's only one word for the playing on this song...My only reason for not awarding 5 stars is the last song. The song itself is good, and the drumming in particular is impressive. However, some of the solos begin by stumbling a bit, unsure of where they're heading. By the time of the emphatic finale, though, 'Walkie Talkie' has figured itself out well enough.Let's say, 4 and 1/2 stars. You will enjoy this disc."