LAST CALL CD OF THE MONTH: Greg Skaff/Soulmation/Zoho Music

May 4, 2017

Known for his solid credentials as a jazz guitarist,  Greg Skaff has released his most adventuresome and dynamic recording to date. Soulmation sees the New York-based guitarist playing with two different trios  in a session that showcases Skaff performing with white hot intensity.

Greg Skaff leads an ensemble that includes  Pat Bianchi, organ, Fima Ephron, bass, and Jonathan Barber and Charley Drayton, drums.

The date starts off with "Conjure", in an organ trio mood. The listener may presume this is the direction the session is headed in. Surprisingly, the third tune sees Greg shift the mood totally away from the organ trio groove into a full throttle fusion experience. And that experience is "Soulmation", which is also the title track. Sustained intensity!

Skaff's own line "Bottom Feeder" keeps the energy on a high level with drummer Jonathan Barber providing essential percussive fire.

In contrast, Greg follows that number with a mellow and heartfelt performance of Duke Ellington's "Fluerette Africane"--certainly a pause to relish.

"Talisman" starts a three song set of jazz rock as delivered by Greg and his band. The energy doesn't let up through "Juke" and builds up to a boil on the fusion classic "Snake Oil", which Skaff delivers with his impressive guitar mastery. It's a thrill to hear him kick off this tune with the energy it so richly deserves!

Nine of the twelve tunes on Soulmation are Greg Skaff originals. They demonstrate Skaff's total mastery of the instrument. He's originally from Wichita, Kansas. Arriving in New York in the 1980s, Greg Skaff found an exceptional opportunity with legendary saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, a gig which lasted 5 years. He's also performed extensively with saxophonist Bobby Watson, who also hails from the Midwest.  Other credits include work with the Ron Carter big band & the great trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. Skaff is a much in-demand presence on record and very active on the New York performance scene as well as concerts worldwide.

Soulmation, Greg Skaff's fourth CD on Zoho records, is a thoroughly satisfying effort which will delight fans of jazz-rock and especially electric guitarists.

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