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Steve Hunt: Connections

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Steve Hunt: Connections
Photograph courtesy of the artist

The breezy music that flows and swirls in a rich atmospheric acoustic is Steve Hunt’s unique way of reveling in human unity. He is fortunate to be so widely connected and takes full advantage of his wide circle of musical associated as he celebrates his Connections. Mr Hunt’s masterful orchestrations are “conducted” from behind a huge bank of keyboards. It is from here that the pulse goes out to and returns from his inspiration music cohort, the core of which is formed around a group of bas and drum connections that include some of the most celebrated instrumentalists in that sphere.

Partnerships include those between: Etienne Mbappe and Nate Wood, or Jimmy Haslip and Chad Wackerman, or Matt Garrison and Tom Brechtlein, Jimmy Johnson and Gary Husband, or Evan Marien and Virgil Donati, Skuli Sverrisson and Billy Cobham, John Patitucci and Casey Scheuerell and also Jimmy Earl and Vinnie Colaiuta. These duos lay the foundation for the thunderous artifice of sound that is ornamented by various percussionist colours and with woodwinds and the occasional brass that adds gloss and glimmer to the musical narratives. The pairings are inspired and this inspiration carries over into idiomatic performances that motor their way through Mr Hunt’s harmonic and rhythmic ideas.

Two of the songs are written to remember fallen musical heroes: “First Creation” for the American bassist Victor Bailey who was noted not only for his performances with Weather Report, but also his role as an inspirational teacher. The memory of the legendary British guitarist Alan Holdsworth is also celebrated with “Carry On”. The individual songs conjure the spirit of each musician’s unique sound palette. In the writing of those songs Mr Hunt shows himself not only to be a keen follower of the music of the dedicatee, but also someone whose sensitivity runs deep enough to evoke emotive sketches.

Elsewhere Mr Hunt has written narratives that speak to a storytelling ability that is second to none. Best of all, the music is engineered in a manner that enhances the tonal riches of the sound palette. The result is music characterised by its very own burnished glow. And this makes for some very compelling listening.

Track list – 1: Now is the Time; 2: Prayer for a New Day [Cherokee Morning Song]; 3: Memories of Sherwood; 4: First Creation [Dedicated to Victor Bailey]; 5: Carry On [Dedicated to Allan Holdsworth]; 6: Quantum Entanglement; 7: Le Zonage Trois; 8: Full Plate; 9: Connections

Personnel – Steve Hunt: keyboards; Etienne Mbappe: bass [1]; Jimmy Haslip: bass [2]; Jimmy Earl: bass [3]; Evan Marien: bass [4]; Jimmy Johnson: bass [5, 6]; Skuli Sverrisson: bass [7]; Matt Garrison: bass [8]; John Patitucci: electric bass and contrabasse [9]; Nate Wood: drums [1]; Chad Wackerman: drums [2, 6]; Vinnie Colaiuta: drums [3]; Virgil Donati: drums [4]; Gary Husband: drums [5]; Billy Cobham: drums [7]; Tom Brechtlein: drums [8]; Casey Scheuerell: drums [9]; Jorge Bezerra: percussion [1, 4] and vocal [1]; Jerry Leake: percussion and tabla [2]; Dennis Yerry: percussion, Native American flute and vocal [2]; Jorge Bezerra: percussion [1, 4] and vocal [1];Ricardo Monzon: percussion [8]; Tucker Antell: tenor saxophone [1, 9]; Ole Matheisen: soprano saxophone [5]; Eric Marienthal: ato saxophone [8]; Bruce Williamson: bass clarinet [9]; Billy Buss: trumpet [9]; Alex Machacek: guitar [3]; Randy Roos: guitar [4]; Robert Ritchiesse: grand guitar [7] and izraj [2, 3]; Joshua Hunt : vocal [2]; Sophia Wackerman: vocal [2]; Nando Lauria: vocal [5, 6]

Released – 2021
Label – Spice Rack Records
Runtime – 1:16:27

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