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Brian Hughes: Along the Way

With Along the Way (A440), guitarist Brian Hughes presents a collection of mostly upbeat, melodic, easily accessible compositions that would fit right in on smooth-jazz radio. But the tunes are also solid and diverse, and they provide Hughes with plenty of opportunities to show quite a bit of range. Hughes’ Wes Montgomery-inspired guitar lines power the brisk title track, while “Son y Lola” is a bright, Latin-inflected number that features a funky solo from pianist Les Portelli. Saxophonist Eric Marienthal guests on two tracks; he provides gutsy alto sax on the soulful “Picture This” and turns smokier on “Wherever You Are.” The lively “Picture This” gets an infusion of cool, courtesy of Chris Botti’s muted trumpet, and the driving “Thinkin’ of You” is accented by Brazilian percussion. Along the Way also includes two lovely ballads-“Omaha Unbound” and “Endless Road”-that demonstrate Hughes’ graceful expressiveness on acoustic guitar.

Originally Published