Steve Adelson

The New Sticktet: The Answer's Inside

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The presence on three tracks of drummer Matt Wilson and on one track of guitarist Larry Coryell lends some "star" quality, and might imply a more adventurous result than this somewhat lame release actually delivers. While well-played and clearly the result of considerable effort, Steve Adelson's various groups indulge in the sort of dated jazz-pop fusion that had its heyday in the 1970s. That said, there is no denying that Adelson appears to know his sound, and he carefully maneuvers to produce a well-disciplined set of arrangements that are likely to appeal to those who like their jazz slightly watered down. This one is made for airtime, and what makes it slightly different is the use throughout by Adelson of the Chapman Stick and the MIDI Stick. (He calls his groups "Sticktets.") (Tony Levin also plays the Chapman Stick on "Woodstock Suite.") Although the sounds from the Sticks (as played here) are not unique, and are largely indistinguishable from an electric guitar, they have a slightly different edge. (The Stick duet on "Woodstock Suite" may give the best sense of what the Sticks are capable of doing.) For those who enjoy so-called smooth jazz, Adelson adds a bit of variety to give his recording an extra "kick." The steel pans, too, on a couple of numbers, are an attractive addition. Of course, those who prefer a purer, straight-ahead form of jazz are likely to be disappointed.

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