Steve Hunt is reviewed by Smooth Jazz (Germany)

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SMOOTH JAZZ – (Germany)

Steve Hunt, Connections (Spice Rack Records)

by Hans-Bernd Hülsmann

Steve Hunt

 

Jazz pianist Steve Hunt has linked his musical agenda to jazz. Steve attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he is still an instructor. He studied with concert pianist Albert Hirsh, jazz pianist Sid Davis and Lyle Mays. He performed and toured with Billy Cobham, Stanley Clarke, Angela Bofill, Tom Brown, and Allan Holdsworth.

He recorded with Allan Holdsworth, Stanley Clarke, Lucas Pickford, Gregg Bandian, Bruce Bartlett, Randy Roos and Pam Pryo. His debut solo album was From Your Heart and Soul (1997). Connections (2021) is his sophomore album. Musicians of distinction in the field of jazz have gathered on his album. More details can be found in the credits.

Starter of the album is Now’s The Time. The intense texture that percussionist Jorge Bezerra spreads out as the foundation of the piece is impressive. The structure and flow remind me strongly of the music of Joe Zawinul’s Weather Report. From the dense mesh that the musicians build together, the individual contributions are hardly to be equalized and that is obviously also intended.

It is difficult to classify the piece Prayer For A New Day (Cherokee Morning Song) stylistically. With a total playing time of almost 11 minutes, it is very lengthy. Two minutes at the beginning are due to the atmosphere before you get to the actual topic. There is a lot of world music involved. The musical instrumentation also has a tribal feel to it. The fact that, for example, the Tablas is an Indian and not an indigenous instrument does not hurt, because, as is well known, the overall impression lies in the auditory canal of the listener.

The title Memories of Sherwood refers to the Sherwood Forest known from the Robin Hood saga. The strong rock influence is furthered by Alex Machacek on guitar, something Zawinul suggests Steve on keyboards. Vinnie Colaiuta on drums provides the necessary drum thunderstorm and then there is the Izraj, which is set in vibration by Robert Ritchiesse.

First Creation is dedicated to late bassist Victor Bailey, who replaced Jaco Pastorius in the band Weather Report in 1982. Accordingly, the piece has many references to this formation. Of course, if you dedicate a piece to a bass player, the bass part has to be very pronounced. Evan Marien steps into this responsible role.

Carry On is a tribute to late British jazz guitarist Allan Holdsworth with whom Steve bonds so much. The piece is marked by Steve’s long-running excursions on the keyboard, propelled forward by Gary Husband on drums. Brazilian singer Nando Lauria creates the vocal elements that are not by chance reminiscent of the music of Pat Metheny. Nando often performed with the Pat Metheny Band and with Lyle Mays.

Quantum Entanglement is a term from quantum physics. I am not now able to determine the relationship between science and music. The title nevertheless characterizes quite appropriately the offbeat jazz fusion music, which is located somewhere between Pat Metheny and Weather Report.

The Zonage Trois is a term from the French, which is included in the calculation of personal housing assistance (AL and APL). Here, too, the relation to the music eludes us. Anyway, Steve Hunt loves it bombastic when it comes to jazz fusion. His creations alone in their realization with top musicians is worth hearing.

Full Plate features Eric Marienthal on sax and bebop is in the air. As the title suggests, there is something for everyone. The closing track is Connections, which reaches epic proportions with a length of over 13 minutes. A certain live effect is achieved by light reverb. The individual musicians are given ample opportunity for solos and improvisations. By the way the structure is changing from the 6th minute onwards.

Steve Hunt’s Connections is for die-hard fans of fusion and contemporary jazz. This album makes no compromises.

Biography

Website

Buy the album in all stores

Album Information

Title: Connections
Artist: Steve Hunt
Year: 2021
Genre: Contemporary Jazz
Label: Spice Rack Records

Credits:

1.Now’s The Time 7:33
Keys – Steve Hunt
Bass – Etienne Mbappe
Drums – Nate Wood
Tenor Sax – Tucker Antell
Percussion – Jorge Bezerra
Vocal – Jorge Bezerra

2. Prayer For A New Day (Cherokee Morning Song) 10:55
Keys – Steve Hunt
Bass – Jimmy Haslip
Drums – Chad Wackerman
Tabla, Percussion – Jerry Leake
Native American Flute, Perc., Vocal – Dennis Yerry
Vocal – Joshua Hunt
Vocal – Sophia Wackerman
Izraj – Robert Ritchiesse

3. Memories of Sherwood 6:19
Keys – Steve Hunt
Bass – Jimmy Earl
Guitar – Alex Machacek
Drums – Vinnie Colaiuta
Izraj – Robert Ritchiesse

4. First Creation (dedicated to Victor Bailey) 9:25
Keys – Steve Hunt
Bass – Evan Marien
Guitar – Randy Roos
Drum – Virgil Donati
Percussion – Jorge Bezerra

5. Carry On (dedicated to Allan Holdsworth) 7:25
Keys – Steve Hunt
Bass – Jimmy Johnson
Drums – Gary Husband
Vocal – Nando Lauria

6. Quantum Entanglement 6:11
Keys – Steve Hunt
Bass – Jimmy Johnson
Drums – Chad Wackerman
Vocal – Nando Lauria
Soprano sax – Ole Matheisen

7. Le Zonage Trois 7:50
Keys Steve Hunt
Bass – Skuli Sverrisson
Drums – Billy Cobham
Grand Guitar – Robert Ritchiesse

8. Full Plate 7:13
Keys – Steve Hunt
Bass – Matt Garrison
Drums – Tom Brechtlein
Alto Sax – Eric Marienthal
Percussion – Ricardo Monzon

9. Connections 13:48
Keys – Steve Hunt
Bass – John Patitucci (acoustic, electric)
Drums and Percussion – Casey Scheuerell
Tenor Sax – Tucker Antell
Guitar – Jeff Lockhart
Bass Clarinet – Bruce Williamson
Trumpet – Billy Buss

Kari Gaffney

Kari Gaffney

Since 1988 Kari-On Productions has helped artists get an even footing in the industry through jazz promotion in the genres of Jazz, World & Latin Jazz through Jazz Radio and Publicity. Why do we do both, because they compliment each other, and we care about fiscal longevity for the artist.

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