SYNERGY In today's jazz world, Mike Leland is among the relative few artists who has a truly recognizable style; and it's recognizable whether he's playing the keyboard or the guitar. You see he's primarily a musician who has things to say that manifest with his own flair regardless of the musical instrument he's using. And Leland capitalizes on a broad musical palate that gives him choices of expression so he can easily articulate his ideas and abstractions. Most players should be so lucky. And while were on the subject, Leland's new fans should know that in addition to playing the lead instruments he's also handling the digital bass and drums chores here. In fact, this collection's title could have been Synergy because it's a apt statement of how an artist's work can ironically become more than the some of it's parts. This album sports a new wrinkle as well, so typical of the artist who grows and progresses. This is Leland's first showcase with a nylon stringed guitar. It's a warm sounding instrument so identified with the Bossa Nova and Latin sound. And Leland exploits it's capabilities here; just listen to his treatment of 'Softly as in a Morning Sunrise'. And he brings out the instrument's charismatic character on other cuts including 'Castoff' and 'Someday My Prince Will Come'. Be it mellow or authoritative the nylon-string guitar sets the musical scenes on this recording and complements them whether bluesy or Bossa with it's warmth and elegance. Jim Carlton-Author of 'Conversations with Great Jazz Guitarists' See a review of NIGHT VISION in the November 2005 issue of 'JUST JAZZ GUITAR' magazine.
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