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Bebop Spoken There

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13,530 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 948 of them this year alone and, so far, 112 this month (July 31).

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

CD Review: Jeff Richman - Sizzle.

(Review by Steve T).
Another fine, basic, fusion album by a guitarist and I've given up second-guessing which of them will sell, largely because I don't get how the whole download culture works.
This is his seventeenth solo album and the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Hotwire from 2015. He's also recorded for TV and film and is in demand as a session musician.
To say his CV is impressive is a bit like saying the Pacific Ocean is wet. He studied privately with Pat Metheny, he's a graduate of Berkley, of a similar vintage to Stern, Frisell and DeMiola, and has played with a veritable who's who, including Ray Barretto, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, Chico Hamilton, Deodato, Blood Sweat and Tears, Gerry Mulligan, Ronnie Laws, Ernie Watts, Harvey Mason, John Klemmer, Meshell Ndegeocello, Billy Cobham and the Yellowjackets. 
It's funky, a bit rocky at times, the playing is remarkable, particularly from the leader, but also by the guests bringing variety just ahead of it becoming samey. So we get a fine piano solo on Samaya, great flugel on Oracle and excellent tenor on Sweet and Hit Parade, which I doubt it will get anywhere near.
Comparisons with seventies fusion are inevitable and he plays mostly  solid body guitars - a Strat and a Tele - and comparisons could include Steve Khan, Eric Gale, Bill Connors, who preceded Al DeMiola in the Jazz-rock version of Return to Forever, and Carlos Santana, whose influence by and on Jazz has yet to be fully recognised.
There are more fusion credentials in the shape of a bass guitar solo during Jimmy Palm.
Just for You features the leader on a more classic Jazz guitar sound (which the premier player of the era - George Benson - stuck with throughout the seventies), presumably either his Gibson 335 or his Jim Hall, both of which feature during the album.
The period is also evoked by the inclusion of a Fender Rhodes on this track which seems to be emerging as a classic instrument along the lines of the Hammond B3 organ.
The album's been out a while and is recommended to guitar enthusiasts and fusionistas.
Steve T.
Jeff Richman (guitars); George Whitty (keyboards); Jimmy Haslip (bass);Vinnie Colaiuta (drums) + Jeff Beal (trumpet, flugel); Bob Mintzer (tenor sax); Taylor Eigsti (keyboards); Mitchel Forman (Fender Rhodes); Will Lee (bass); Gergo Borlai (drums). 

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