Shungo Sawada

Fool on the Hill

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While the modest but charming Fool on the Hill painstakingly channels the sun-kissed pop sensibilities of the classic A&M Records sound, Shungo Sawada remains at heart a jazz guitarist, crafting the kind of glowing, chromatic leads that would make even Wes Montgomery proud. Sawada's nimble phrasing and warm, multi-dimensional sound are clearly the selling points of the session, which otherwise sticks to the all-too-familiar staples of the era (e.g. "Up, Up and Away," "The Look of Love," and the Beatles' title tune), and fails to discover anything new to say in the retelling. It's by no means a bad record, but it fades from memory with all the speed and meaninglessness of a random thought.