Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Eric Johnson / Mike Stern Eclectic Heads Up 2014

Insanely good! Johnson and Stern create the perfect storm of sound and texture.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
The improvisational six string odd couple? Not exactly...Eric Johnson has long been associated with the rock music world but don't forget Mike Stern began turning heads playing guitar with Blood Sweat and Tears. Together they team up for a dynamic showcase, Eclectic! Far more than a shredding session this high octane release moves from Wes Montgomery influences to a mind blowing cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic "Red House." Along the way we are treated to cameos from Stern's equally talented wife Leni, background vocals from Christopher Cross and drummer Anton Fig from the Paul Shaffer led Letterman house band.
Variety is the harmonic anchor of Eclectic with a modal excursion from Stern, "Remember." This particular tune pulls from the John Coltrane composition "Impressions." Johnson's own jazz influences come to fruition with "Benny Man's Blues" which is a more than fitting homage to the swing of the legendary Benny Goodman and Charlie Christian. Venturing into the land of rhythm and groove there is the slow burn of the Stern number "You Never Know" while Johnson aims the beat at their feet with a three man horn section and the smoking "Hullabaloo."
Eclectic may best be described as what happens when you catch lighting in a bottle. Two of the finest guitarists cutting a wide lyrical path while never getting in their own way. A controlled burn of lyrical intensity while they walk that treacherous harmonic tightrope of sonic exploration. Six string aficionados from all genres can find plenty to like here. One word review, flawless!
The release will hit a music platform near you in October.
Tracks: Roll With It; Remember; Benny Man's Blues; Wishing Well; Bigfoot; Tidal; You Never Know; Dry Ice; Sometimes; Hullabaloo; Wherever You Go; Red House.
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