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Album Review

Shebang is an immensely satisfying guitar trio record. Bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Kenny Wolleson join Steve Cardenas, one of the unsung guitar heavyweights of the New York jazz scene. Comprised entirely of Cardenas's original compositions, the album possesses that most elusive of qualities — copious variety guided by a crystalline clarity of purpose. The roomy, breathing feel of the rhythm section creates an ideal environment for the flowing melodies of "Across the Way," "Shebang," "Safer Than Heaven," and "Make It So." On these tunes Cardenas achieves a loosely swinging lyricism that recalls Pat Metheny, whereas on "Lucky Number" and "Tai Chi Chai Tea" he hearkens back to the country-folk twang of John Scofield's Shinola period. "Mr. Mule," co-composed by Cardenas, Wolleson, and Jesse Murphy, is a playful foray into '70s-inflected garage rock; Cardenas employs distortion and reveals his unabashed eclecticism.

Three of the tracks feature Cardenas playing beautifully on acoustic guitar. "Del Cenote" and "Sacre Coeur" have a somewhat solemn character, while "Para Ti," with its lullaby-like melody and almost exaggeratedly sparse drum part, sings with an inspired simplicity. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Guitarist Steve Cardenas is following in the footsteps of contemporary stylists such as John Scofield and Pat Metheny. His warm, lyrical sound and frequently edgy improvisations put him in league with young, rock-influenced jazz players like Pete McCann and Ben Monder. Originally from Kansas City, Cardenas is currently a busy sideman and leader in New York. He has performed and/or recorded with Steve Million, Maria Muldaur, Mark Isham, Paul McCandless, Jeff Beal, and pop/rock singer Tracy Bonham....
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Shebang, Steve Cardenas
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