Barry Finnerty

Straight Ahead

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Guitarist Barry Finnerty, who has spent two decades playing commercial music, for the first time on this Arabesque CD recorded an entire set of jazz; his fine sidemen are pianist David Kikoski, bassist Mike Richmond, drummer Victor Lewis and percussionist Chuggy Carter. Finnerty has a rockish tone, impeccable technique and an attractive bluish sound. Unfortunately none of his originals (all but three of the ten songs on this session) have memorable melodies and his reworking of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" is dull. Much more intriguing are "Count Up" (a relative of "Giant Steps" and "Countdown"), "Outness" (which has some Ornettish improvising), the solo "Bells" (performed almost entirely with natural harmonics) and the minor blues playing on "Elvinesque." Finnerty is a hot player alright, but he should find some stronger melodies to interpret on his next jazz date.

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