Guitarist Steve Kimock puts his current band of six years in the studio for Eudomonic, and comes out with an entertaining disc of popish instrumental rock music that will delight. Kimock’s band has, at its core, just two musicians: Kimock on guitars, mandolin and ukulele, and ace drummer/percussionist and 13-time Grammy winner Rodney Holmes. Joining Kimock and Holmes on this recording is all-star bassist Alphonso Johnson, known to most as former bassist with Weather Report - but whose work with Billy Cobham and Tom Scott on Alivemutherforya is absolutely mandatory for all fusionists, along with New York guitarist Mitch Stein and keyboardist Jim Kost.
Currently based in California, Kimock has knocked around in various West Coast groups and built up a small, but deserved reputation as a tasteful, melodically-oriented guitarist. Known as Jerry Garcia’s favorite unknown guitarist, this recording should help Kimock gain further exposure.
Kimock uses his emphasis on tonally-oriented melodic rock concepts as the spire from which a variety of styles are spun. For example, "The Bronx Experiment" employs a couple of Eastern sitar-ish modes in working around the tricky melody, "Ice Cream" has elements of Miles Davis’ In A Silent Way recordings in the backgrounds during the extended guitar solo, and the title track is firmly rooted in pop.
What Kimock brings to these, and a number of other stylistic influences he works with on this disc, is a true devotion to accessible and singable melody. This is seen no more clearly than on "In Reply." This very jam-band sounding track allows Kimock to demonstrate his use of tasteful and thoughtful soloistic ideas over a revolving bed of lush rhythm work.
If there is a problem with the disc it’s that it’s a little too jam-bandish throughout the later tracks, which works against learning who Kimock is a musician. This recording’s reliance on melody in an age which sees sophisticated and elegantly conceived music as both non-important and non-marketable means only those with discerning tastes will reap the relevance inherent within, but it’s a journey worth taking.
Thomas R. Erdmann is the author of two books, the editor of two others, and has had over 70 articles published in journals and magazines including, but not limited to, Saxophone Journal, International Trumpet Guild Journal, Journal of the Conductors Guild, Women of Note Quarterly, and Jazz Player. He directs the Symphony Orchestra and teaches at Elon University, NC.