Nick Colionne: Keepin’ It Cool

Nick Colionne’s smooth guitar licks have sweetened ears for more than a decade, but it wasn’t until 2003’s Just Come On In that many listeners sat up and noticed. That’s because the CD offered two hit singles–“It’s Been Too Long” and the No. 1 smash called “High Flyin’.” On his much-anticipated follow-up, his first for Narada, the Chicago-based guitarist once again offers fluid electric-guitar ditties influenced by his idols, Wes Montgomery and George Benson. In fact, Colionne continues his custom of including at least one song on each CD either originally recorded or inspired by Montgomery. This time it’s a recording called “John L,” a languid number that would feel comfortable in the swingin’ 1960s. The rest of the CD is similarly compelling and much more of a total smooth-jazz package than his previous work, which presented some mainstream-jazz moments. “This Is the Song” is a just-about-perfect contempo number that builds to a soaring, irresistible hook, and the guitarist adds two, live-in-the-studio bonuses: a reworked version of “High Flyin’ ” and a cool take on “Rainy Night in Georgia.”