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Spajazzy: Spajazzy

Guitarist Mike Stern lends his scorching licks to three tracks on this fine self-produced fusion outing by the Italian-born, Berklee-trained rhythm tandem of drummer Sergio Bellotti and bassist Tino D’Agostino. Bellotti is a hard-hitter in the tradition of Dennis Chambers, as he so forcefully demonstrates on the urgent opening track, D’Agostino’s “Son Finite le Vergini.” Full of challenging unison lines and demanding stop-time statements, this one harkens back to early Brecker Brothers and is fueled by D’Agostino’s slippery, Jaco-like funk groove. After a lengthy Michael Brecker-influenced tenor solo by Bill Vint, Stern wails heroically like a bop-inspired Carlos Santana. He also rips it up in characteristic fashion on Vint’s “Better Left Unsaid” and on guitarist Jim Kelly’s funk vehicle “Mr. Stern.”

Kelly, a guitar professor at Berklee, lays out some slick, clean-toned fingerstyle work on his earthy “Blue Caboose,” then applies a warm overdriven tone for a flowing effect on his “Six for Costas.”

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