Brian Hughes plays the guitar like a disciple of Pat Metheny, Lee Ritenour and George Benson, his music resonating with a double dose of sweetness and lyricism. Hughes has produced some of the most compelling music in the contemporary jazz genre in the past 20 years, and a sampling is offered in this, his first live album. Recorded at the La Maison de le Culture Frontenac in Montreal, this album is a love letter from the Canadian native. Expanding eight songs over more than 72 minutes allows Hughes to take flight with improvisational solos based on familiar riffs, expressed on “While the World Slowly Turns” and “For You.”
The album, for the most part, leans heavily on Hughes’ later work and—to his credit—Hughes selected songs from the cream of the crop: “Thinkin’ of You,” “The Beat,” “Son y Lola,” “Omaha Unbound,” “Endless Road” and the two already mentioned. But “Nasca Lines,” from Under One Sky, Hughes’ second album from way back in 1992, surely takes hardcore fans back to the guitarist’s attraction for Latin rhythms. This electric-flamenco tune had ’em clapping.
Hughes was joined onstage by Les Portelli on keys, Tim Landers on bass, Ron Powell on percussion and Tal Bergman on drums. Let’s hope someone taped this thing—