Chuck Loeb knows the secret to finding enduring success in the genre, even amidst growing competition by more and more up and coming guitarists who approximate his style: keep the listener guessing from tune to tune with unique stylistic and production curveballs. He's so effective at this that it's impossible to resist as he commands in the title of his new Shanachie disc: simply Listen. Keeping his crisp electric lines front and center, he darts and moves from the retro-soul clicking, synth strings, and rising horn combination of "Silver Star" to the fingersnap percussion, hypnotic cymbal rolls, Gary Keller's flute harmony, and Jim Beard's shimmering Fender Rhodes foundation on "High Five." It's a kick keeping up with his mood swings; Loeb restrains himself wrapping around Mark Egan's spacy basslines and Kim Waters' soprano on "Love Is All," then stirs up the frenetic fusion activity of "Right Down Broadway" with Mitch Forman's jump or else piano groove and more of those sassy horns. He even keeps a cover of Michael Jackson's "Rock with You" from slipping away into Muzakville by shifting from high to low string tones and trading off melody lines with Walter Beasley's alto.
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran