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Khan, Steve: Backlog

Steve Khan has been wowing jazz fans since his first release Tightrope in 1977. The exceptional guitarist has been a favourite of mine since first hearing him play on the album Parting Shot (2011) followed by Subtext (2013). Both releases are excellent and would be hard to top but this is Steve Khan we are talking about and if anybody can do it he can. His latest album Backlog is another stunning album from one of the best jazz guitarists around. Although his Gibson shines he has always played with excellent players and that is indeed the case here. The personal are Rubén Rodriguez (baby bass and electric bass), Mark Walker (drums), Marc Quiñones (timbal, bongo, percussion) and Bobby Allende (conga, bongo). Guests include Randy Brecker (trumpet on track 3), Bob Mintzer (tenor sax on track 7), Mike Mainieri (vibes on track 5), Rob Mounsey (keyboards on tracks 2,6,7 and 9, orchestrations on tracks 3,6 and 10, orchestral arrangements on tracks 4 and 8) and Tatiana Parra (vocals on track 10).

The Afro-Cuban influence can be heard throughout Backlog and with instruments like congas and bongos these tunes are inundated with great percussive grooves. Fitting perfectly within this Latin flair are Khan's liquid guitar melodies permeating the sound. With the first track the band tackle Thelonius Monk's "Criss Cross" and the Afro-Cuban influence is strong with excellent percussion and a light and airy touch. Khan's percolating guitar lines are all over this one. "Concepticus In C" is another upbeat track with fabulous keyboard/guitar interplay and an infectious groove. Blasts of trumpet and an incredible solo from Brecker highlight the strong Latin vibes in "Latin Genetics" whereas the pretty ballad "Our Town" features Khan's gentle guitar chords and swirling orchestrations courtesy of Rob Mounsey.

I have yet to hear a Steve Khan album that hasn't impressed me and Backlog is no different in that regard. Great grooves, great musicianship and totally infectious songs. This is my kind of jazz and comes highly recommended!

Track Listing:
1. Criss Cross (5:45)
2. Concepticus In C (5:38)
3. Latin Genetics (8:05)
4. Our Town (7:10)
5. Head Start (5:56)
6. Rojo (6:40)
7. Invisible (8:26)
8. Emily (6:01)
9. Go Home (7:53)
10. Catta (8:29)

Added: May 22nd 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1150
Language: english

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