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Play

4.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 14, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

1999 ATLANTIC RECORDING CD
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 14, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B00000K3H2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,203 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Hildebrand on December 16, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Jazz guitar fans often find Stern frustrating: he has great jazz chops and credentials, but he often gives in to the clichés and riffs of the rock guitar hero. His tunes have tended toward the following formula: quirky, upbeat head, long solo culminating with rock and roll flash muscle-moves. Play breaks this pattern. The signature Stern heads are there, but he seems to consciously be trying to avoid his more familiar rock riffs in order to try out more adventurous harmonic ideas. The additions of Scofield and Frisell are interesting--there are not the typical ego collisions one finds on multiple-star guitar projects. They all push each other and there is a genuine sense of good fun and play in the tunes. Bottom line: if you'd gotten sick of Stern, like I had, try out Play. He's doing something different here.
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Format: Audio CD
This album is why the universe needs Mike Stern. I can't seem to take this one out of my car and as a result, I have listened to it all the way through almost every day for the last 2-3 weeks.
The contrast of Frisell and Stern is otherworldly, and you really get to hear their personalities come out and gel together. Scofield is also here, and this cd shows that he is still badass. This one ranges from modern bebop sounding on the title track, "Play", to soft and spaced out ballads like "Blue Tone", to hard edged emotion of "Tipatina's". Link is a modal fusion tune with not many chord changes, which, could get boring. However, this one is supercharged all the way through; a testament to the musicians'abilities (THERE ARE SAX SOLOS, AND GREAT DRUMMING HERE TOO! NOT JUST GUITARS).
I have been listening to what Scofield and Frisell, and Metheny are doing. They seem to be taking jazz sensabilities to music that is really not jazz anymore. It is improvised music and thats great stuff, really great stuff, but what jazz needs, what the world needs is "Play". Stern takes his rock influence with his voice to jazz and not the other way around. I can still hear all the way back to Charlie Parker on "outa town" (i'm 24). Not only that him and his band play their hearts out. In summation if you have to buy one jazz record that matters in the world, it is Mike Stern's Play or Wayne Shorter's Alegria. In short, I hope you get it and give it a good listening because it is beatiful NEW BEBOP CRACK ROCK.
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Format: Audio CD
This is my first Mike Stern CD. It will definitely not be my last. I really, really like it. I decided to buy it because I heard it featured my favourite guitarist after Pat Metheny, John Scofield. Actually, (and to my delight), Stern is joined here by Mr Scofield and another of my favourite guitarists, Bill Frisell.

I found it fascinating that three men playing essentially the same instrument, i.e. electric guitar, could each sound so very different, so very individual and so immediately identifiable. Stern himself reminds me a lot of the late Eric Gale, of whom I've been a huge fan for decades now.

It's a lovely guitar album, though of course, the album also features Ben Perowsky and Dennis Chambers on drums, Lincoln Goines on bass, Bob Malach on tenor saxophone and last but by no means least, Jim Beard on keyboards, who also produced the album.

My favourite tracks? Well, as soon as you hear the opening licks on the opening track "Play", you just know you're in for a treat. "Small World" is instantly funky. The ominously haunting ballad "Blue Tone" is my favourite track of all and I also love "Goin' Under", another ballad, naturally.

Great album, great guitar music. Mike Stern seems to have put out so many albums, my only dilemma now is which one to buy next...
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By A Customer on September 18, 1999
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Mike Stern was in danger of becoming one of music's great enigmas. His talent and potential have always been apparent, but over the years his music had become static. With the realease of his new CD "Play" Stern has taken a giant leap into and above the mundane world of his contemporaries. This is truly an amazing pioneering event for the world of jazz. It is music that is completely new and fresh. If you buy one album this year, this is the one! Congradulations Mike, you're one of the biggest kids now!
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Format: Audio CD
With no disrespect intended for guitarist Mike Stern, I must point out that for me, and doubtless for many other jazz fans, it was not his name that drew us to this recording, but rather the names of John Scofield and Bill Frisell, who join Stern on several cuts (unfortunately, on none of the cuts do all three guitarists appear together). And with no disrespect intended for either Mike Stern or John Scofield (who appears on cuts 1, 2, and 3), I must further point out that where this CD really starts to take off musically is with track 4, "Blue Tone," which is the track where Bill Frisell makes his first appearance (he also plays on cuts 6, 7, and 10). Supporting this league of crafty guitarists are Lincoln Goines on bass, Ben Perowsky or Dennis Chambers on drums, Bob Malach on tenor sax, and Jim Beard on keyboards.

All the tunes on Play are credited to Stern. The first three sound like pretty good jams--nothing really memorable, but fun to listen to, but then on cut 4, the tempo slows down and the music becomes more thoughtful, more intense, and much more interesting. Cut 5, "Tipitina's," picks up the tempo as Stern takes the lead guitar role by himself. Cut 6, "All Heart" brings Frisell back, but features too much tenor and not enough guitar. Track 7, "Frizz," ditches the tenor and features Stern and Frisell having a good time playing off each other. The final cut, "Big Kids," starts off in the kind of funky rhythm that would seem to be a natural for Scofield to join in, but it is Frisell who joins with Stern on this cut, which recall Frisell's work on drummer Joey Baron's Down Home CD from a couple of years ago. Good stuff, quite tasty. The recording is quite clean, with plenty of midbass wallop to give your woofers a workout. Although this is not officially a Bill Frisell CD, his fans should run right out and get it. He makes it happen.
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