Tunes Overview: The Mike Stern Band Brings Jazz-Rock to the Iridium

December 22nd, 2013

Ruby Washington/The New York Instances

The Mike Stern Band From left, Mr. Stern, Dennis Chambers, Anthony Jackson and Randy Brecker at the Iridium.

The guitarist Mike Stern achieved peak combustion at an unlikely stage in his very first established at the Iridium on Thursday night, although chopping a route from one guileless ballad to the up coming. He enlisted only his tough-minded drummer, Dennis Chambers, for this excursion, issuing no directive beyond a tempo. In no time they attained a blues-rock bliss point out, goading every single other toward notions of demanding metaphysical abandon.

The fury lasted no a lot more than a few of minutes — it probably could not have held much lengthier — prior to Mr. Stern eased up on the throttle, rounded his tone and knitted a delicate prelude to “What Might Have Been,” a track as wistful and muted as its title suggests. But an perception experienced been produced. From that moment on, his four-piece band, with Randy Brecker on trumpet and Anthony Jackson on bass guitar, sounded taut and galvanized, as if warn to something vital at stake.

Mr. Stern, sixty, has developed his aesthetic about that pressurized sensation. Early in his occupation, doing work on both sides of the jazz-rock fault line — with Blood, Sweat &amp Tears, the drummer Billy Cobham and most visibly, the difficult-nosed early-’80s Miles Davis band — he struck a balance of fire and logic, with a contact of visionary surplus. He’s now considerably nearer to the floor: a guitarist’s guitarist, an keen collaborator, a fixture at the 55 Bar in Greenwich Village. The humblebrag title of his 2012 album, “All More than the Place” (Heads Up International), implies the two a stylistic compass and a way of currently being.

“Out of the Blue,” a frisky, springlike monitor from that album, served as the opener below, offering every single musician a turn in the spotlight. It also proven the band’s dynamic exchange, a byproduct of Mr. Chambers’s deep groove pulling from Mr. Jackson’s ropy, ingeniously off-kilter bass traces. Mr. Brecker was the photo of publish-bop aplomb, his concepts and tone pinpoint-obvious even by way of a gauze of reverb.

Mr. Stern, meanwhile, was unmistakable at every single turn. He performed his trademark guitar, patterned soon after a Telecaster, with the typical light-weight patina of refrain effect and delay. An nearly deceptive sort of technician, he fluently picked every single note, even at hummingbird speed.

And whilst his phraseology derives from bebop, he finished a great deal of his strains like a blues player, bending pitches to his will. On ballads, he manufactured painterly use of his quantity knob, so that his lines seemed to materialize in midair.

Past that, he was unflappable, notably for the duration of each and every of numerous volcanic, perversely cross-rhythmic drum solos by Mr. Chambers. “Chatter,” which shut the set, brought the total band to that level of depth, straining and fuming. But Mr. Stern held his awesome.

The Mike Stern Band performs through Sunday at the Iridium, 1650 Broadway, at 51st Street, 212-582-2121,

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