In its review of Jeff Golub's 1999 release Out of the Blue, Jazziz magazine boldly asserted that the guitarist's innovative style transcends typical smooth jazz boundaries, enthusiastically comparing him to Eric Clapton and Robben Ford -- two of the greatest guitarists of all time. But there is more to Golub than rock and blues. Throw in the influences of Wes Montgomery, Jimi Hendrix, Les McCann, and Cannonball Adderly, add magical pop melodies and improvisations, and it's clear why Golub's been one of the genre's most popular performers since the mid-'90s. Playfully keeping what he calls a "beatnik funk vibe" throughout, his GRP debut Dangerous Curves perfectly captures this multitude of influences along with the energy and spontaneity of Golub's unforgettable live performances. Golub produced the album with veteran drummer and GRP/Verve marketing exec Bud Harner, who came up with the idea of creating a live club party feeling and loose, casual gig atmosphere featuring some of Golub's favorite musicians -- Mitch Forman (keyboards), Lincoln Goines (bass), Steve Ferrone (drums), Dave Woodford (sax, flutes), Lee Thornburg (trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone), Peter White (acoustic guitar), Kevin Savigar (Hammond B-3), and Luis Conte (percussion). Golub's instincts never stray too far from his trademark jazz/blues base, from the brass-infused bebop-influenced blues of the title track to the restless and blistering funk bounce of "Another Friday Night." His dynamic mood swings cover a lot of intriguing territory, going wildly Latin on "Lost Weekend" and retro-soul for "No Two Ways About It," which seamlessly intertwines Forman's Rhodes and Savigar's simmering B-3. On the seductive "No Two Ways About It," Peter White's unmistakable, high-toned acoustic breezes dance jubilantly in and around Golub's tougher edges; the contrast brilliantly showcases the many faces of smooth jazz. Golub wrote or co-wrote most of the material on Dangerous Curves, but carefully chose a handful of unique covers to create new arrangements for "(That's) Mr. Magic (To You)," a meditative tribute to the late Grover Washington, Jr.; "Soul Serenade," a melancholy take on King Curtis' '60s blues hit recorded by Golub and company at 2 a.m.; and Smash Mouth's alternative hit "Walking on the Sun," which Golub approaches from a moody, atmospheric, Doors-like angle.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran