Mike Stern: Swunk




Mike Stern (guitar)


Is What It Is (Atlantic Jazz 82571-2)

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Mike Stern (guitar), Michael Brecker (tenor sax), Will Lee (bass), Dennis Chambers (drums),

Jim Beard (synthesizers and piano)


Composed by Mike Stern


Recorded: New York, 1994


Rating: 88/100 (learn more)

"Swunk" is a lowdown swinging blues funk. "Swunk." Get it? Stern can really play the hell out of the blues, as confirmed by his manipulation of the slow blues-tinged opening notes of this piece. He squeezes every last drop out of them. After tastefully dispensing with the misleading theme, Stern plays a staccato run that leads to the funk aspect of the program. Brecker comes on like gangbusters. His funkiness comes in short bursts. Often he is doubling with Stern, which lends a swinging syncopation to his contribution. Stern eschews the basics in his fusion-driven solo. Stern and Brecker then go at it tooth and nail. Chambers provides a strong backbeat. (What else is new?) Of particular interest is Lee's walk-and-pause bass. It is as if he is walking, but every few beats has to stop to see who is behind him.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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