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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest 70's Fusion Album Never Made
This is an outstanding effort from Herring. I was wary of another aimless "jam" effort, (while Project Z has its moments, one must admit that it lacks any real direction or originality,) but the guitarist and his pals have truly crafted something special. "Lifeboat" is neither a jam band record or a guitar hero wankfest...the songs strike a perfect blend of melodic...
Published on November 9, 2008 by Daniel Bailey

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars more laid back
I expected a more busy and fast selection than was presented here. Still good stuff and I am listening to it more and more but was expecting more of a Project Z.
Published on November 22, 2008 by G. Keller


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest 70's Fusion Album Never Made, November 9, 2008
This review is from: Lifeboat (Audio CD)
This is an outstanding effort from Herring. I was wary of another aimless "jam" effort, (while Project Z has its moments, one must admit that it lacks any real direction or originality,) but the guitarist and his pals have truly crafted something special. "Lifeboat" is neither a jam band record or a guitar hero wankfest...the songs strike a perfect blend of melodic songwriting and improvisation, immaculate arrangements, (there are flutes, alto and soprano saxophones, keyboards/pianos, and one killer bass solo,) and balls-to-the-wall group interactions. Most of the songs would likely fall under the "jazz-rock fusion" category, but there are tracks that fall firmly onto both sides of the line.

Lifeboat is tasteful, original, and flawlessly executed, and as a soloist and the clear musical focus of this record, Jimmy Herring is a 10; you can be different, but you can't be better. He's got unbelievable chops, but he uses them as a means for creating soulful, exhilarating pieces of music, rather than a series of excuses for shredderiffic yawn-athons. What's more, his bandmates are given ample room to shine for themselves, which sets this album apart from 9 out of 10 instrumental guitar albums.

In all, an amazing album with endless replay value. Buy it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for 'spreadheads, November 25, 2008
By 
S. Shirley (El Dorado Hills, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lifeboat (MP3 Music)
I have to say that I was more than surprised at how great this album is. Don't get me wrong, I was well aware of Jimmy's skills as a guitarist as he has been the hired gun of choice for the jam scene for many years now. I had no idea that his composition chops were right up there with his playing.

If you are looking at this album as an extension of a Widepsread Panic (his current gig) show/album, you will want to look elsewhere. These songs are modern jazz concepts rather than loose jams. Not dissing on Panic, it's just there's improv and then there's IMPROV and this is the latter. With that said, the music is still very organic and full of feeling.

If you're primarily a jazz fan and may be a skeptic due to hearing "jam band" in a negative connotation, you needn't worry. Jimmy does not "noodle" on guitar in the jam setting and he certainly doesn't when he's playing jazz. This is just great composition played at a very high level.

Do yourself a favor and get this album. It's a shame that XM/Sirius have decided that nobody listens to modern jazz and have cancelled their outlets for music like this. Word-of-mouth may be the only way that one gets to learn about these guys now. Support these guys.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Musical Bliss, November 7, 2008
This review is from: Lifeboat (Audio CD)
From top to bottom, this is a Triple A effort from Mr. Herring. He along with Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Sipe form the core trio of the album. However, there are also many heavily featured guests as well, that fully round out this beautiful album. There is a great mix of fusion rockers, ballads, and some straight ahead jazz stuff that assures this record will be in heavy rotation for a long time to come. Jimmy is a master at his craft and I really enjoy the confidence with which he plays every note. He is able to string together long lines of blazing hot licks like few other players can. Highly recommended. BUY IT NOW!!!!!!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Might be the Instrumental Record of the Year, November 7, 2008
This review is from: Lifeboat (Audio CD)
Jimmy Herring has been one of the hottest guitar players in America for over 20 years. He has performed with some killer bands throughout his career as a sideman, Phil Lesh, Dead, Widespread Panic among others. He was a equal member for seminal band ARU. Unfortunately many dont know him as well they should. He sits on the same rank, yes on the same page as Jeff Beck, Steve Morse, Allan Holdsworth, Pat Metheny. This recording, his debut solo record just proves that he is one of the baddest guitar players. In fact this record is better than many albums made by his heroes mentioned above. He should be proud. Top Notch recording. Stellar playing from everyone - Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Sipe, Kofi Burbridge, Derek Trucks, Greg Osby, Matt Slocum, Greg Osby. I would give this a 5 star and maybe thats not enough
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Listen to it 3 times, December 20, 2008
This review is from: Lifeboat (Audio CD)
I was only marginally impressed after the first listen. However, after a few times through I began noticing some amazing subtleties and nuances that completely changed my opinion of the album. It's jazz from a rock perspective. It's intelligent and well thought out. I bought it to "support the home team" after seeing him with Widespread Panic a million times and am pleased with my purchase.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Stuff I've Heard in Years!, June 4, 2009
By 
Cone J. Beckham "conebeckham" (Richmond, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lifeboat (Audio CD)
Jimmy Herring is lyrical, soulful, tasteful. He also burns like any MoFo you can name, but never at the expense of making a musical statement. He's got a warm, singing sound, equal parts Holdsworth and Duane Allman, to my ears, and stylistically his harmonic and melodic sense come from these directions as well as from a whole host of Post Bop jazzers. He and Ben Monder are the two most innovative and unique voices in electric guitar since Bill Frisell, though they are not at all alike. Jimmy puts lyricism and melody at the forefront, but he draws deeply from the Post-Bop and Fusion wells at the same time. He is without doubt one of the top electric guitarists playing today.

I'd heard him before, with Col. Bruce and some other projects, and been impressed, but this album combines his stellar playing with compositions that show his maturity, poise, and musicality. The first time I listened to this, I was a bit underwhelmed, given all the hype I'd heard. "Well, it's not blazing" was a first impression...along with a percieved "lack of newness" and a sense that the rhythm section and tunes were more rock than jazz, somehow. However, I recall being moved by a couple of the solos, and on that basis, I kept coming back to it, and listening with more attention. It's been months now, I keep hearing new things, and the beauty and emotions conveyed by Jimmy's solos, his compositions, and the really creative, though subtle, choices by the other players have not dimmed since. This is an Absolute Classic Guitar Album, one for the Ages, without doubt. My only worry now--Jimmy, you set the bar so high, I gotta wonder how you'll manage to raise it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Herring, more than a hired gun?, January 18, 2009
This review is from: Lifeboat (Audio CD)
Warren Haynes once introduced Jimmy Herring as "one of the finest guitar players in the world" and in many musical circles that's the gospel truth. His resume reads like a who's who of rock and roll including several stints with Phil Lesh, The Dead, Widespread Panic, Aquarium Rescue Unit, Jazz is Dead and many more... For many, the addition of Herring to a band often means unleashing a guitar wild man onto the scene, like a hungry lion which is sprung loose upon a field of gazelles. He is most famous for his take-no-prisoners guitar assault as he incorporates bop lines over rock chords with grace and ease.

With the release of his first solo release, "Lifeboat," Herring has taken center stage and seized the spotlight as he so rightfully deserves. The first track, "Scapegoat Blues," starts off in typical Herring fashion, a raunchy blues-infused track which just screams "guitar god." After the wild opener, the album diverts from your typical rock and roll format and treats the listener to a wide variety of sounds and styles and offers a glimpse into the eclectic musical soul of Herring like never before. The disk is mainly comprised of Herring originals, but also features a rendition of the jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorters' 'Lost' as well as a stunning reading of Disney's "Jungle Book Overture!"

Jimmy's playing has a very subtle feel and feels more focused than ever before. An album full of tasteful guitar galore, which makes it very accessible for fans of almost any guitar-dominated genre.

For those familiar with his previous work, this disk should be an automatic purchase and for those interested in a melting pot of blues, rock, bop, and soul give it a try. The worst thing that can happen is you have an extra present for one of your jamband loving hippie friends during the upcoming Holidays!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars more laid back, November 22, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Lifeboat (Audio CD)
I expected a more busy and fast selection than was presented here. Still good stuff and I am listening to it more and more but was expecting more of a Project Z.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quality debut, January 7, 2009
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This review is from: Lifeboat (Audio CD)
Jimmy Herring has a warm and fuzzy guitar tone. He plays with class and can shred or belt out a heartfelt solo. I own Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit and Project Z (both are heavy on a R&B vibe). This sounds nothing like either of those discs and leans more towards contemporary jazz but still has a mix of blues and rock. It is completely instrumental. The disc has ten songs (64 minutes long), and half the disc is devoted to slower songs. Currently, "New Moon" is my favorite slow song. The guitar work by Jimmy and guest Derek Trucks transform what could have been an average blues tune into something smooth but exciting. The fusion-esque "Only When It's Light" is another highlight. This could be a lost RTF track. What stands out for me on this disc is the rhythm section (tight as heck), the expert playing by all musicians, and the audio mix. I have a modest stereo system and the balance between instruments is perfect and everything sounds oh so sweet. Overall, this is a must if you like jazz.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for guitar fans, February 17, 2011
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This review is from: Lifeboat (Audio CD)
Somehow, I missed this release when it first came out, so, I finally got it and it's truly better late than never. This is an collection of music, hard to define but leaning toward most definitions of real jazz, or a jazz fusion. I suspect it's appeal is more toward the latter, and to fans of guitar-centric blues-rock and the like. To my ears, though, it is just great music, played on mostly modern electric rock instruments. The compositions are first, the playing supports them and the improvisation never gets far away from the composition. In this case, this is all a very good thing. While the musicians are of very high caliber, they never overwhelm the atmosphere with gratuitous flash. The collection also stands together as a traditional album of songs that together take the listener on a journey. So, if your a fan of vituoso playing, and great musicianship, and great compositions, you should get this without hesitation. There's something for lovers of all real music here.
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Lifeboat
Lifeboat by Jimmy Herring (Audio CD - 2008)
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