Mike Stern Band New Morning: The Paris Concert

Mike Stern Band New Morning: The Paris Concert
Mike Stern's career path reads like a dream sequence: from Blood, Sweat & Tears to Billy Cobham's band, from Miles Davis to Jaco Pastorius' Word of Mouth, from Brecker Brothers to Steps Ahead and a rich solo catalogue since. Teamed with crack drummer Dave Weckl, bassist Tom Kennedy and saxophonist Bob Franceschini, Stern wails over a sold-out crowd at Paris's hip New Morning club during a far-reaching '08 European tour. This hi-def tour de force delivers exactly what fans of the 56-year-old trailblazer expect: a lush, well-rehearsed and dynamic set that always serves the music first. Stern is never a showboat, wrapping his skills around the abilities of his fellow players before lifting them into unexpected directions just beyond each composition's original structure. Unjustly tagged as a fusion guitarist, Stern underlines the depth of his varied abilities across these eight elongated tracks, flipping from traditional jazz guitar sounds that ultimately steer the band into harder rock edges occasionally bordering on funk. The rapt audience seems understandably transported by the absolute fluidity and intensity of this tour-tightened foursome. The almost two hours of footage is exceptional and the 5.1 sound, superb. (Heads Up)