A veteran jazz pianist who takes inspiration from legends like Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, Steve Hunt’s illustrious career includes directing the touring act Jazz Explosion, as well as playing on Allan Holdsworth’s recent albums, and here he bonds with many friends for the aptly titled Connections.
“Now’s The Time” starts the listen with 7+ minutes of frisky percussion from Jorge Bezerra as Tucker Antell’s soulful sax glides alongside Hunt’s proficient keys, and “Prayer For A New Days” follows with tabla from Jerry Leake and Native American flute by Dennis Yerry in the atmospheric and cultured setting that recruits chanted vocals from both Joshua Hunt and Sophia Wackerman.
Closer to the middle, “First Creation” displays Randy Roos’ swirling guitar work and Evan Marien’s glowing bass prowess in the nearly prog-like climate, while “Carry On” showcases Gary Husband’s firm drumming amid the acrobatic keys from Hunt in the dreamy delivery. “Quantum Entanglement”, one of the standout tunes, then benefits from Ole Mathisen’s soaring soprano sax in a busy, fusion-like presence of beauty and melody.
Landing near the end, “Full Plate” illuminates a timeless jazz template that’s not short on alto sax thanks to Eric Marienthal, though Richard Monzon’s busy percussion won’t go unnoticed either, and “Connections” exits the listen richly textured as moments of restraint and playfulness finish the record on a very high note.
With the large amount of players on hand, each track here offers different avenues of Hunt’s creative vision, which spans many ideas in the area of modern jazz, though certainly not in any easily classifiable ways, effectively making for an exciting listen from beginning to end.