16-year-old Isaiah Sharkey's Debut is a Family Affair
The cover photo of Skyline firmly establishes a strong Chicago influence even before the music begins. Isaiah Sharkey began guitar lessons at 7 years old with his multi-instrumentalist father and quickly advanced to private study with Chicago-great Bernard Krump. Sharkey's prodigious guitar skills and jazz voicings have already garnished him great praise. Frequent comparisons include Wes Montgomery and George Benson.
While Skyline is officially an Isaiah Sharkey release, his father Michael Sharkey is the obvious patriarch and creative banner over the project. His brothers supply drums and additional keyboards. Demanding listeners who expect transcendent or revolutionary jazz will come away disappointed. These players are mostly young and lack the interpretive body of itinerant veterans, but fortunately, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Featuring a range of styles from classic to contemporary, the Sharkey Family Tree exhibits a unified jazz conception.
Skyline contains ample evidence of Isaiah Sharkey's immense talent. He may well turn out to be a highly-respected guitarist, and this recording will be fondly remembered as a step in that development. Isaiah Sharkey & the Family Tree perform regularly in the greater Chicago area. On your next visit, be sure to catch a rising star!
David Seymour is a freelance jazz journalist from Saint Louis, Missouri, USA.