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Album Review

Mike Moreno's second CD as a leader is what many young players ought to emulate: not a self-indulgent session but one where he blends a mix of originals and standards, while demonstrating his chops in a subtle manner, accompanied by veteran pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Doug Weiss, and drummer Kendrick Scott. The guitarist's opening track is a gradually percolating, inventive rendition of Herbie Hancock's infrequently recorded "I Have a Dream." His shimmering take of Wayne Shorter's "Children of the Night" is equally effective. Moreno omits the piano in a spacious arrangement of Billy Strayhorn's bittersweet gem "Lush Life," introducing it by himself, while he gives "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing" an eerie flavor in a stretched-out setting. Nor does he ignore demanding post-bop, heard in his deft workout of Joe Henderson's "Isotope." His originals also merit praise. Hays switches to Fender Rhodes for the fusion-flavored "Another Day," while "Third Wish" has the unmistakable influence of Shorter. Mike Moreno is yet another promising young musician who is getting wider exposure courtesy of Gerry Teekens' Criss Cross label, which has a knack for attracting talent deserving of wider recognition.

Third Wish, Mike Moreno
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