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Mike Stern (Guitar): Voices

Album Reviews:

The Wire (10/01, p.74) - "...As slick as it gets..."

JazzTimes (12/01, p.150) - "...A rather seamless conjoining of African musics and Stern's own solid fusion sound. Nothing sounds forced. Nothing sounds rickety at all..."

Mojo (Publisher) (12/01, p.113) - "...His subtlest LP...world-flavored..."

Album Notes

Personnel includes: Mike Stern (guitar); Richard Bona (vocals, bass, kalimba); Arto Tuncboyaciyan (vocals, percussion); Elisabeth Kontomanou, Philip Hamilton (vocals); Michael Brecker, Bob Franceschini (saxophone);

Jim Beard (keyboards); Jon Herington (12-string guitar); Chris Minh Doky (acoustic bass); Lincoln Goines (bass); Dennis Chambers, Vinnie Coliauta (drums).

Engineers include: James Farber, Bart Migal, Jim Beard.

Principally recorded at Sound On Sound Studios, New York, New York.

VOICES was nominated for the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album.

Guitarist-composer Mike Stern presents a mixed bag of musical ideas on this on VOICES, blending the ethnically diverse singing styles of Richard Bona, Elizabeth Kontomanou, and Philip Hamilton with rock grooves, bop guitar licks, and layers of keyboards. Even though Stern dips his pen into many musical colors, VOICES comes across as a solid, unified effort. In fact, Stern convincingly pulls together seemingly disparate musical styles with ease. In particular, songs such as the lyrical "Wishing Well" and the lush ballad "What Might Have Been" are surprisingly compelling works. At times, VOICES verges on pop; other times it seems to recall South African and Caribbean music before settling into a jazz fusion groove. Clearly, Stern is on to something here as he connects the human voice to jazz in a unique, highly inventive manner.


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