During the interview portion of his live DVD, New Morning: The Paris Concert, Mike Stern briefly discusses his taste in music. The fusion guitarist explains that even though he enjoys a wide variety of music, he listens to jazz more than anything. And that statement speaks volumes about the performance that dominates this DVD, which was filmed at the New Morning (a Paris jazz venue) on May 16, 2008 (when Stern was 55). There is plenty of rock influence and funk influence coming from Stern and his sidemen, who include Tom Kennedy on electric bass, Dave Weckl on drums, and the Michael Brecker-influenced Bob Franceschini on tenor sax. But the spirit of jazz improvisation is so strong on New Morning: The Paris Concert that only the most dogmatic jazz purists and bop snobs would be able to watch this DVD and claim that Stern isn't really a jazz musician. Although Stern's appreciation of rock and funk is evident during a pleasingly long set (which lasts about 100 minutes), his jazz mentality is unwavering when he dives into "That's All It Is," "What Might Have Been," or "Tumble Home." So as Stern points out in the interview, he is not a jazz snob by any means but is definitely someone whose artistic vision is being affected by jazz more than anything. New Morning: The Paris Concert isn't simply instrumental rock with jazz overtones -- it is instrumental electric jazz that incorporates rock and funk elements for jazz purposes. And this DVD is a fine document of Stern's May 16, 2008 appearance in the French capital.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson