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Eclectic Earwig Reviews

The Sheryl Bailey 3: The Power of 3!
2002, Pure Music Records, PRM-21402
CyberHome: http://www.SherylBailey.com

The Sheryl Bailey 3 lay down a set of smooth jazz tracks in the classic jazz trio format on their 2002 release, The Power of 3! Gary Versace sets the scene with his soulful, Jimmy Smith influenced Moog keyboard style and sound. Ian Froman adds the rhythm into the mix with his savvy, stylish jazz percussionry that seamlessly adds an entire profound dimension to the whole equation. And, Sheryl Bailey tops it all off with her classy smooth jazz work that is comprised of fluid contrapuntal phrasings, breathtaking, clean-toned runs, and fashionable chordal voicings. Bailey's guitar style is fondly reminiscent of legendary jazz masters Wes Montgomery and George Benson. The overall effect that the trio achieves is a beguiling, classic jazz sound that balances showy instrumentalism against a sublimely disarming backdrop that draws the listener deeply into the musical experience.

There is some exploration in the harmonization, but it generally stays within the confines of accessibility and good taste, staying focused on contrapuntal development and musical effect. The swiftly moving arrangements are satisfyingly eloquent in their articulation of classic smooth jazz bliss. It is refreshing to hear modern artists revisiting the great musical stylisms of days gone by and to see that they have brought them to life again with the new light the trio has shed on the classic form. Sheryl Bailey and company prove that the reason this prolific, smooth jazz style is classic is because it defies ever being outdated because it is the perfect balance of complexity and accessibility. And, the trio deftly hits the groove with a classic feeling that transcends placement in time.

If you are a fan of smooth or classic jazz, be sure to check out The Power of 3! from the Sheryl Bailey 3. This trio has got it together with fine form, snazzy execution, and an absorbing vision of classic jazz from a modern perspective. The CD is consistently good from start to finish and offers a great wealth of listening material for jazz fans.

Guitar Sheryl Bailey
Keyboards Gary Versace
Drums Ian Froman
1) Starbrite
2) Ray's Way
3) Death Toll
4) The Spring
5) (Until You) Return to Me
6) Something Blue
7) The Wesenback
8) Arpeggio

~ Christopher Ruel ~ www.ChrisRuel.com ~ Chris@ChrisRuel.com ~ Chris Ruel's Monthly Spotlight

Sheryl Bailey also with jazz bassist Erin Fisher Wright
Sheryl Bailey: Little Misunderstood (CD, 56:57) independent release 6990, 1995 Contact/ Purchase info: 364 W. 23rd St. #2F NY, NY 10011 Ph: 212-332-0063 or from: GUITAR NINE RECORDS Pittsburgh, PA native, Sheryl Bailey knows how to serve up frenzied fusion guitar/guitar synth, deliver sultry, hot grooves, and deftly handle jazz standards. She tips her pick and pen to the harmonics and compositional, solo-laden works of Mike Stern or Chick Corea. She hangs tight, delivers punchy, and remains breathlessly fluid in her stylings. Her varied guitar voicings allow a wide range of expression and therefore extended listener interest levels -- in a word, variety. At times you might think another guitarist is guesting but it is all Bailey and Bailey, channel to channel, effects magic. "Honk� and �Enigma� get the show on with roller coaster speed, twists, and turns of great guitar pyrotechnics and awesome bass work by Vince Loving. Adrian Green drums himself into near oblivion. George Colligan tears the keys apart. Chris Battistone shines, wails, squeaks that muted Miles Davis hip-chant on trumpet, setting the stage on "Go Go A Go Go� for more slick Bailey groovathonics. �Nardis� has ringing bell, string-resonant harmonics accenting a very Metheny/ jazz standards piece that straight-up jazzers will dig. In the same mellow saunter, brushes on skins, standards mode, Bailey covers �Caravan� expertly with an eerie, echo-laden background of whispery guitar? synth�ed reverb that crawls all around her clean-voiced playing. Phaser, flanger feedback, rack-mount slicktronics, solid guitar, brilliant trumpet, drums and bass of perfection make this a truly unique cover. �Gus� is strongly Mike �Sterno� and has Bailey screamin� in that slightly overdriven, a smidgen delayed, hugely present axe-voice. More superbly, ghostly, ambient effects are swirling around in the background, (guitar synth/keys? I presume), with excellent keys again by Colligan. I could easily go on -- dissecting each track, mentioning the ten musicians accompanying Bailey but -- I sum it up here to say five more tracks of expert and satisfying guitar-driven gems await you. If you dig fusion and/or straightahead jazz, you need to get this collector�s item release by Bailey. Good luck finding it. You�ll be pleased you did. Get a touch of Scott Henderson, Jeff Beck, Hendrix, Clapton too if you listen close. It�s all happenin� here. Sheryl, you do lay it down too cool. ~ John W. Patterson

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