(All Album Reviews by jlneudorf)
Steve Khan is one of the best jazz guitarists around and is back with a new album Parting Shot, the follow up to 2008’s The Suitcase. In his band are longtime members Anthony Jackson (contraband bass guitar), Dennis Chambers (drums), Manolo Badrena (percussion, voice) as well as Marc Quiñones (timbal, bongo, percussion) and Bobby Allende (conga). This is a crack band and their years of playing/recording together shows in the music.
This is Khan’s first all Latin jazz release, influenced by his time spent in Venezuela and Columbia. The Latin rhythms and grooves are absolutely infectious and Khan’s prowess on the guitar is a virtual highlight on every track. His sense of melody and imagination is evident throughout these ten tracks which include seven originals and three covers.
His interpretation of the classic Ornette Coleman tracks “Chronology” and “Blues Connotation” are fabulous with the former featuring breezy lead guitar and rhythmic flourishes and the latter having a deep bass groove surrounded by Khan’s innovative playing. The other cover is a reworking of Thelonious Monk’s “Bye-Ya” where Khan’s crystal clear lead guitar speaks volumes and his passion for the greats of the past is surely realized.
Of course he also shines on his own compositions like the bold Latin sound of “Zancudoville” where hints of Santana come to mind and the guitar has a little extra bite. On the ten plus minute “Influence Peddler” Khan’s silky smooth leads and rhythms wind their way through Chamber’s amazing drum work. The percussion of Allende and Quiñones also deserves to be mentioned as their playing is vital to the CD’s Latin sound.
Other highlights include the tasty mellowness of “Los Gaiteros” and the laid back Latin grooves of “Change Agent” where the percussion and drums are highlighted once again.
Steve Khan and his band have really nailed it with Parting Shot, a wonderful Latin infused jazz album where each musician is allowed to shine making this a real keeper. Recommended for all fans of Latin and jazz.