Since his days with Blood Sweat & Tears in the mid-1970s, followed by stints with Billy Cobham and Miles Davis band in the 80s, and a solo career that now spans more than 25 years, guitarist Mike Stern has used his jazz roots as a starting point for exploring a range of alternate territories that include R&B, rock, swing, funk, world music and numerous other regions along the musical topography. The recipient of Guitar Player magazine s Certified Legend Award for 2012, he s an artist who s not afraid to bring numerous styles and ideas however diverse into the same place just to see what happens.
All Over the Place is Stern s new recording on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group. Set for release on June 19, 2012, the 11-song set aligns the characteristically diverse and adventurous guitarist with a cadre of brilliant guests, including trumpeter Randy Brecker; saxophonist Kenny Garrett; and drummers Dave Weckl, Keith Carlock and Lionel Cordew. Also on hand is a delegation of high-caliber electric and acoustic bass players: Esperanza Spalding, Richard Bona, Victor Wooten, Anthony Jackson, Dave Holland, Tom Kennedy, Will Lee and Victor Bailey.
I ve been playing a lot of different kinds of great music with a lot of different musicians on some of my more recent records, says Stern, whose Big Neighborhood released on Heads Up in 2009 followed a similarly eclectic vibe. I love bebop, swing, rock, all the stuff that a lot of guitar players especially jazz players tend to include in their music. It s the nature of the instrument, but very much a part of my nature as well. There s a lot of music that really inspires me, and it usually covers quite a few territories.
The guitar tends to keep you open-minded, because you hear it in so many places, says Stern, listing many places he himself has ventured along the way not just on All Over the Place, but in earlier work as well. You hear it in rock, in country, in pop, in funk, in classical, you hear it in jazz, you hear it in so many kinds of music that you can immediately identify it on one level or another.
Stern is ready at a moment s notice to go to all of these places and more, and he s ready and willing to bring anyone along for the ride. Music, to me, is a language of the heart, he says. I hope people will get some emotional payoff from what I ve done on this recording. That s the vibe that I continue to go for with all of my music.