Album DetailsLabel: Spice Rack
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After a decade on the road with several prominent jazz artists, keyboardist Steve Hunt celebrates his most enduring musical connections, as well as the chain of the universe that unites all objects and processes. This interesting pandemic project features a high tech contemporary approach to recording. All of the stellar musicians recorded their instruments and vocals in their home studios. Hunt’s nine tracks of smooth jazz establish a unique groove with some elements of rock and funk. I wonder if there would've been more spontaneity and empathy between the musicians had they been together in a studio. Opening with “Now’s the Time,” Hunt establishes the initial context of his music with certain notes, tones and phrases, embellished with Tucker Antell’s tenor and Jorge Bezerra’s percussion and vocals. As the album progresses with “Prayer for a New Day” and “Memories of Sherwood” and “First Creation,” we sense how time, place and situation may change during a journey, but the bond and unity remain. That seems to be the nature of Connections as Hunt’s original music introduces new shapes and forms to the tight, cohesive soundscapes. Hunt and company tap into their emotions to get their points across in memorable musical statements.
I particularly enjoyed hearing Nando Lauria’s entrancing vocals in “Carry On,” Ole Mathisen’s soprano sax in “Quantum Entanglement,” and Robert Ritchiesse’s grand guitar in “Le Zonage Trois.” Besides just Connections, there’s also duality in nature that provides balance, the yin and yang if you will. Hunt seems to get it, and if his music builds with tension, eventually it releases. After we hear Eric Marienthal’s alto sax in “Full Plate,” we hear Hunt’s synthesizer respond. There’s plenty of sound on this album, and it’s also the fleeting silence or space between notes that provide joyful relief. Hunt’s focus on the music’s dynamic is what gives it continuity and vitality. While it’s heady jazz music, try to insert yourself into its intricate cosmological web. By doing that, you’ll experience its yin-yang in aspects of your own life. As I focused on the smallest details in the closing title cut Connections, Hunt’s emotive music took on even more personal, deeper meaning to me. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)