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Chris Camozzi: Suede

A longtime sideman who has supported pop and R&B mainstays from Mariah Carey to George Benson, guitarist Chris Camozzi steps out on his own for Suede (Discovery/CGR 77069; 46:12) and shows that new musical textures fit his freewheeling style very well. Camozzi’s fleet fingered fretwork suits funky, bouncing pieces like “Smooth Sailing” (which features a nice call-and-answer section with saxophonist Richard Elliot) and the album’s catchy jazz/funk title track. Camozzi also has a gift for crafting arrangements which bring out the best of his talents, while for the most part eschewing needless layers. “Beyond the Horizon,” which again teams Camozzi with Elliot, at his most vibrant, provides a nice flying effect through laid-back melodic lines paced over a ticking, double-time percussive track. There are moments where Camozzi lapses into more contrivance (can’t lay off those disco-thread pulsing synth strings on tracks like “Swing Shift,” for example), but those are outweighed by highlights like “Miles Away,” an edgy horn-guitar counterpoint tribute to Miles Davis, which finds guest Rick Braun delivering the main theme, and Camozzi meditating on the meaning in the looser passages.

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