Leni Stern

Finally the Rain Has Come

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Guitarist/vocalist Leni Stern's 13th recording is constructed upon contemporary jazz-pop-type motifs. The artist's proclamations concerning peace and love are intertwined with the sad events surrounding September 11. With this release, Stern enlists superstars such as guitarists John McLaughlin and Bill Frisell, saxophonist Michael Brecker, and others. Overall, she possesses an angelic voice to coincide with her laid-back and at times textural guitar work, whereas some of these pieces surge forward with a slight country & western vibe. Larry Saltzman's sitar-guitar lines and Stern's softly stated vocalese augment McLaughlin's blazingly fast electric guitar lines on "Finally the Rain Has Come." Here, the listener might think of McLaughlin's Shakti band, although this piece might be deemed a bit more radio-friendly. There's not much to get excited about, yet Stern's heartfelt lyricism hits the mark in a subtle and generally affable fashion. Unfortunately, many of these pieces fail to impart a long-term impression, largely due to Stern's rather oblique melding of jazz, rock, and pop. And while it's all been done before, strong material coupled with memorably melodic themes and catchy riffs might have elevated this production to loftier heights.

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