Ever since the spurt of jazz-guitar brilliance that arose in the ‘70s (Abercrombie, Frisell, Metheny, Scofield, Stern), there has been a dearth of distinctive voices on the instrument. Enter John McLean. In his work with Patricia Barber, he immediately evidenced a number of attributes absent in many jazz guitarists of late. He displays a comfort with the guitar as an electric instrument, shown in his tasteful use of effects in such away that they serve not as window dressing but as an integral part of his instrumental voice—and there’s unabashed passion in every note. These qualities and more are in abundance on his debut as a leader, Easy Go. McLean offers a sampler box of his talents as a player and/or composer from bluesy burners like “Fat Chance” and “October” to sensitive ballads like “My Brother Richard” and Miles’s “Blue in Green.” He may not be reinventing jazz guitar like those above, but John McLean plays like he is, and that is refreshing enough to make him a player to watch.
John McLean - guitarsJim Gailloretto - saxophonesLarry Kohut - acoustic bassKarl Montzka - piano & Hammond B-3Adam Nussbaum - drums