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G-Fire Two by Vernon Neilly

G-Fire II is guitarist Vernon Neilly’ s sequel to ‘smoothie’ award winning G-Fire. The project is a meeting of Vernon Neilly and fellow guitarists Mark Whitfield, Kevin Chokan and Miguel Mega. Their combined resumes boast such diverse artists as Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Smith, Dianna Ross, Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson, The Jazz Crusaders, Chaka Khan, Billy Paul, George Duke and Stephanie Mills. The compositional credits are mostly Neilly and Whitfield, Chakan supplies a pair and Mega has a single credit.

The soundscapes are popish and smooth in nature with mixes of reggae, rock and jazz. These types of contexts can make the breezy guitar lines sound pedestrian at times. The licks and phrases are nonetheless cool and tidy, yet you get the sense that they could really come alive with sharper hooks and a little more fire. With this there is some good news and bad news. The good news is that the smooth playing and glossy production draws similarities to artists like Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton and Russ Freeman. The bad news is that neither of players sound distinctive, even from each other - it is extremely difficult to tell their playing apart from one another. A lack of pyrotechnics and challenging material keeps this music’ s feet firmly grounded in the mood music camp. Guessing that the G in the title stands for guitar, (this suggests a summit of sorts for the guitar players) - don’ t get tripped up on the lofty label. However, the playing will serve as excellent background music.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Vernon Neilly
  • CD Title: G-Fire Two
  • Genre: Smooth Jazz
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Bootsweet Records
  • Rating: Three Stars
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