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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.
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...
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a jazz vocalist, I am always looking to instrumentalists for new ideas in my interpretations of song and normally, I would listen to horns solos (for some reason, my ear finds... Read morePublished on March 19, 2007 by Lisa Webster
my first Mike Stern record
Definately not my last
Mike's a wizard on that guitar
This album is well above than par
mike stern is doing things with jazz, he always gets hammered by the critics, for his rock edge, but this album along with the last, between the lines, break down musical barriers... Read morePublished on December 19, 1999
His best. Great compositions. Check out track 3Published on October 18, 1999 by Nimrod (email@example.com)