When a producer studs an artist's debut with an impressive all star guest list, he runs the risk of overshadowing the leader. Not the case with a new CD by Gil Parris. Although half of Fourplay (Bob James and Harvey Mason), David Sanborn, Mark Egan and Will Lee were invited to Parris' coming out party, it's obvious that the 28 year old guitarist wasn't intimidated. Parris shows an equal facility for electric and acoustic and clearly has been influenced by Larry Carlton. He also holds his own by writing engaging melodies, by adeptly shifting dynamics (often employing distorted electric sounds and graceful acoustic tones on the same piece) and by hitting solo heights that would please fans of both George Benson and Eddie Van Halen. On "Starting Over," Sanborn plays a simmering harmony behind Parris' lead. Then the two soar together on the hook before Parris takes a crunching rock flavored solo. "What Will It Take" displays an even greater build-up, moving from a fluffy, tropical flavored intro to a blistering fit of aggression. Parris also varies the clarity of his tone to good effect. On the melancholy "An Ardent Man," he uses a dark murky sound that in the company of Egan's gloomy bass, creates a fog of romantic confusion. Then, on "Midnight Rendezvous," the crispness of his sound evokes a brilliant moon passing through the clouds. On "It's a Lie," Parris alternates between that clear, Neal Schon like tone and a crying country twang. All in all, an impressive beginning.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran