Redefining the role of the modern improvisational guitarist, The New West Guitar Group has just raised the bar others insist on limboing under.
Brent Black / www.bop-N-jazz.com
A guitar trio is not exactly new however the last one to hold my interest was a Kenny Burrell date roughly twenty years ago which included Bobby Broom and a player to be named later. Obviously it did not hold my interest for long. Big City is the aptly titled and fifth release from the New West Guitar Group based out of Los Angeles. Given the fractured nature of improvisational music and the plethora of arbitrary genre tags slapped on artists with little or no consideration in regards to their creative intent, New West Guitar Group is smashing that glass ceiling of self limiting genre by creating their own unique hybrid.
Acoustic and electric old school roots that form a smoldering back drop to a new cool marriage of chamber jazz, popular covers and blues with some serious bite to form the new voice for improvisational music. Scanning the set list covers from Tears For Fears, Simon & Garfunkel and the Police immediately grab the attention of the unsuspecting listener. Big City quickly develops an organic pulse, a rhythmic sense of urgency but with a laid back sophistication that is elegant in approach yet somehow raw in presentation. For the six string aficionado this may well be the mother load for creativity. The color palette blends acoustic steel and nylon-stringed instruments with electric guitars, well placed effects and incredibly innovative strumming and finger picking techniques adding a remarkable texture to the this cutting edge recording.
The original compositions from this trio range from the more urban vibe of "Train Bump" to the dialed back intimacy of "Mission Creek." Big City is a sleeper in every sense of the word but not a release to be taken lightly or forgotten. Perry Smith, Jeff Stein, and John Storie can each lay claim to the tag of virtuoso while all share in the composing and arranging credits for Big City. Mark your calendar for Sept. 10th...This one is too good to miss.
Tracks: Everybody Wants To Rule The World; Every Big City; All I Want; Mission Creek; Proud Days Work; Inspiration Point; Bleecker Street; Train Bump; Pacific Blues; Wrapped Around Your Finger; Evergreen.
Personnel: Perry Smith, Jeff Stein & John Storie: Guitars