A notable characteristic of the contemporary musical scene is the gradual, but constant, erasing of the lines separating musical genre. Moving beyond the fusing of jazz and rock by such groups as the Weather Report and such artists as Jaco Pastorious, other styles such as country, R&B, adult pop, and spoken word are being absorbed into jazz. Chris Springer and Craig Ducommun, two of the beneficiaries of this liberality, with their first album for Maximum Jazz, have nudged this osmotic process along even further. The question is whether they have gone too far beyond the new demarcation lines. They come close, but not quite there. Certainly tunes such as "Horse 66" have a definite jazz beat to them with Chris Springer's Pat Metheny-influenced high-voltage guitar leading the way before Dave Say comes in with some raucous sax. This tune is closer to jazz than to any other genre as it elicits a toe-tapping response rather than arm waving. Similarly, "Home" has a lovely, flowing smooth jazz-like ambience about it featuring the electronically enhanced sounds of Craig Ducommun's keyboards moving underneath Springer's promenading guitar. Listening closely to Springer on "Keswick Simple," shutting out the extraneous electronically created sounds, one can hear a few licks that Charlie Christian used in the 1940's as he was breaking down barriers for the jazz guitar. A snappy "Buckshot, the Cat" lays down a funky beat, with Springer's guitar taking an almost heavy metal sound. All the tunes are written by either Springer or Ducommun by themselves or in collaboration with others. Unlike much original music being composed today, the tunes have character and vitality. This CD is a must for those who wish to stay up with the cutting edge of the evolution of jazz in the 21st century.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan