Bryan Steele

Bryan Steele Group

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Bryan Steele described the music on this CD as "contemporary electric jazz," but it's a long way from the overproduced "contemporary jazz" that commercial radio stations were playing in 1997. Combining jazz with elements of funk, R&B and rock, the promising tenor and soprano saxman (who was 28 when the album came out) shows that he's far from a purist and makes a noteworthy contribution to fusion with some help from guitarist Eric Johnson, keyboardist Johannes Wallmann, bassist David Wiesner and drummer Andrew Sanesi. Michael Brecker is a strong influence on both Steele's phrasing and his writing, although his attractive sound also shows an awareness of Grover Washington, Jr., John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter. While Steele's own material dominates the album, his interpretive powers are nicely illustrated by unlikely versions of the Police's "Demolition Man" (which works surprisingly well in a jazz setting) and Coltrane's "Song of the Underground Railroad" (which he changes from acoustic post-bop to infectious jazz-funk). Decent and enjoyable on the whole, this release indicated that Steele was an improviser to watch out for.

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