It seems jazz churns out hundreds of new electric guitarists per year, and many of them sound much the same. Mike Baggetta has the potential to break the mold of post-John Scofield plectrists if his talent in evidence on this debut recording progresses as it should. Blessed with a refined approach and solid technique, Baggetta's quartet displays music in the neo-bop vein, and in tandem with tenor saxophonist Jason Rigby, gives the listener much food for thought as their well-tethered tandem lines whip up an attractive textures. The parallels of Scofield's work with Joe Lovano in the early '90s is hard to deny, as Baggetta and Rigby supply linear modern jazz at once luscious and vocally influenced.
The Complete Motown Singles has been a dream project of Motown and soul fanatics for many years, ever since the first decade of Stax/Volt singles was compiled in an impressive nine-disc box set in 1991. The Complete Motown Singles might have seemed like a logical move to soul collectors and fanatics, but it remained in the realm of fantasy for many years because, as enticing as that set was, it was difficult to create.
Reissue with the latest remastering and the original cover artwork. Comes with a description written in Japanese. Beautiful solo work from pianist Mike Nock – a set that's got some of the dark edges and dynamic energy of Nock's previous 70s recordings – but an album that also shows some newly lyrical elements as well! Some passages have Mike hitting the keys with the sort of frenzied creation he reached on fusion recordings – but with wonderful results on the acoustic piano – and other moments have this enhanced sense of melody that makes for very beautiful, expressive passages – maybe a touch more sentiment than the younger Nock would have allowed himself, but never in a way that's soppy or overdone. The balance in these modes is great – and reminds us that Nock can be equally compelling a solo performer as he is in a group – on titles that include "Enchanted Garden", "Polyhedron", "Fallen Angel", "California Country Song", "Soliloquy", and "Jacanori".
Mike Stern does what he does very, very well. He has carved out a unique niche for himself among modern fusion guitarists, a vision that combines funk and R&B bass/drum grooves with skittish melodies often involving extended chord fragments. Stern's lead voice is one of the most distinctive in the genre as well, as his chorused and sometimes distorted tone is always prominently displayed.