I hadn’t heard of Mike Stern until I attended Atlanta Institute of Music in 2001. When my teachers spoke of him it was like they were referring to a god, a jazz guitar god if you will. Stern earned this respect with his amazing be-bop lines shaken and stirred with a splash of rock guitar.
Review by Russell Eldridge
After attending Berklee College of Music, Stern got his start as a guitar player with Blood, Sweat & Tears. He has also played with Billy Cobham, Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius and many others.
Some of the all-star musicians on Mike Stern’s new CD All Over The Place are Victor Wooten, Dave Weckl, Randy Brecker, Jim Beard, Leni Stern, Esperanza Spalding and Richard Bona.
The song “AJ” begins with a deceptive line similar to the feel in “Wing And A Prayer” from Stern’s 1996 recording Between The Lines. Though, after about 20 seconds, the ballad mood is kicked to the curb and replaced with a funkier motif.
Richard Bona’s vocals on “Cameroon” are reminiscent to “First Circle” from the Pat Metheny Group. The Groove brings to mind “You Can Call Me All” from Paul Simon. Stern’s solo starts off vocal-like in its phrasing, but it doesn’t taking long before things start to heat up. The note choices during both B sections of Stern’s solo seem to sing out with brilliance bringing out a majestic feel.
The emotional beginning for “As Far As We Know” melds with the angelic voice of Esperanza Spalding like feathers and wind. Stern follows Spalding with a graceful and delicate solo adding the final stroke to this vivid masterpiece.
Find out more online about Mike Stern at http://www.mikestern.org