Dean Brown

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Session guitar whiz Dean Brown steps out with his solo debut, a set of tightly played, nicely recorded jazz-funk fusion tunes. Brown's guitar work is undeniably tasty -- drawing equally, it seems, from Jimi Hendrix and Larry Carlton. For support he drafts the biggest of the big names: Michael and Randy Brecker, David Sanborn, Billy Cobham, Marcus Miller, George Duke, Christian McBride, and quite a few others. Brown's original music at times lapses into cliché, particularly on the soft jazz throwaway "Believe Me." The vocal cut "Tell It (Like It Is)" and the Beatles cover "Baby You're a Rich Man" also don't add up to much. But the album has its high points: the rocking 6/8 assault of "Solid"; the churning, laid-back syncopation of "The Clave Groove"; and Marcus Miller's fretless bass work on "Gemini."

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