Guitarist Mike Stern latest CD sees the fusion legend joined by a number of high profile guests from both rock and jazz including guitarists Steve Vai and Eric Johnson; bassist-vocalists Esperanza Spalding and Richard Bona; jamband godfathers Medeski Martin & Wood & drummers Dave Weckl and Cindy Blackman.
Stern made his reputation as a member of Miles Davis' "comeback" band of the early 80's and has always grafted elements of rock, blues, soul and more to his solid jazz foundations. 'Big Neighborhood', therefore, refers to Mike's eclectic approach and as he says himself "You can find all kinds of things in a big neighborhood - all kinds of different people, all kinds of different ideas and perspectives, and of course, all kinds of different sounds."
Mike Stern (guitar), Richard Bona, Esperanza Spalding (vocals, bass guitar), Eric Johnson , Steve Vai (guitar), Bob Franceschini, Bob Malach (saxophone), Randy Brecker (trumpet), Jim Beard (piano, Hammond b-3 organ, keyboards), John Medeski (Wurlitzer piano, Clavinet, Hammond b-3 organ), Chris Wood (electric bass), Chris Minh Doky, Lincoln Goines (bass guitar), Cindy Blackman, Dave Weckl, Terri Lyne Carrington, Billy Martin, Lionel Cordew (drums)
(4 stars) Spectacular...hats off to Heads Up for a varied album by the world's pre‑eminent jazz-rock guitarist.
-- Evening Standard, (Jack Massarik), October 9, 2009