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Steve Kimock Band: Eudemonic

Although a majority of the material on guitarist Steve Kimock’s new re-lease Eudemonic doesn’t qualify as jazz in even the loosest sense of the term, it’s clearly improvisational and edgy. Kimock moves in and out of numerous genres during these nine pieces, making tempo adjustments and maneuvers with ease while also playing steel guitar, mandolin and ukulele. He zips through rock tunes, blues progressions, pieces with African and Asian influences, even adding bits of country and Hawaiian sounds. Occasionally, as on the nearly 12-minute “Elmer’s Revenge” his quintet extends things too much, but they’re mostly disciplined enough to break off solos or exchanges that are degenerating.

Drummer Rodney Holmes lays down either simple, steady backbeats or more intricate ones depending on what’s needed, while bassist Alphonso Johnson delivers crunching accompaniment and mighty lines on tunes like “Ice Cream,” “The Bronx Experiment” and “Tongue ‘n’ Groove.” As the second guitarist Mitch Stein manages the difficult task of not being overwhelmed by Kimock, yet maintains vitality and energy while operating mainly in a rhythm capacity. Another attribute of this music is that the numbers really are band pieces rather than guitar showcases. Kimock responds, interacts, complements and contrasts the other players, who in turn challenge and extend him through their responses.

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