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New Morning - The Paris Concert by Mike Stern Band

During the "Soundcheck Sketches" portion of the DVD, guitarist Mike Stern says that the Paris, France., New Morning venue is one of his favorite places to perform. And after watching the footage, Stern’s jubilant stage persona reaffirms that notion in a big way. One of the most influential jazz and jazz-fusion guitarists spanning several decades, Stern imparted an enormous impression on the global scene via his ‘70s work with Miles Davis and beyond. With a superior band, the artist’s distinct technique shines glowingly, in front of a sold-out show, which took place on May 16, 2008.

The band lays down a perpetual groove at various tempos as Stern and saxophonist Bob Francheschini gel within soaring unison lines and alternating solo spots. Comprised of largely, explosive material, drumming hero Dave Weckl and his longtime associate, bassist Tom Kennedy drive home the pumping jazz-rock and hyper-mode rhythms

Many of these pieces are designed with climactic phrasings and ascending choruses, where Stern’s ominous lines and maddening crescendos generate a great deal of excitement. Otherwise, Weckl is a lightning-rod via his complex, polyrhythmic beats and solos. In effect, the group looms as a finely tuned force of nature. Yet, on "Wishing Well," the guitarist softens the flow with regal lines and melodic balladry. Then Weckl forgoes his sticks and taps out a delicate pulse for his duo piece with Stern, titled "What Might Have Been."

Stern guides the ensemble through rippling passages and turbo-charged metrics. He also bends his strings into submission with sinuously engineered phrasings atop funk, and power-packed passages, much to the audience’s delight. Moreover, the film crew effectively captures the band while instilling the unit’s sense of movement by using numerous pans, zooms and wide-angle shots. Stern enthusiasts should be elated here.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Mike Stern Band
  • CD Title: New Morning - The Paris Concert
  • Genre: Jazz DVD / Video
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Heads Up
  • Musicians: Mike Stern (guitar), Bob Franceschini (saxophones), Dave Weckl (drums), Tom Kennedy (bass)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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