As a critic of edgy, experimental, and avant musics, one tends to catch a bit o' hell from one's genre peers when exclaiming an affinity for the likes of Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour, Steve Khan, etc. Well, how can ya not like 'em? Those guys possess finesse in spades and, my God!, how much cleaner can players get? 'Sides, listen to solo LPs by the gents, especially Khan, and tell me they aren't imaginative as well. C'mon. I dare ya. Now pause for Jeff Richman, and place him in the same category.
Richman's newest, like his last, is so balmy it's tropic while, by turns, energetic, melancholy, exclamatory, and playful. You get definite tinges of Les Dudeck, Jeff Beck, Paul Speer, mellow Alan Holdsworth, and Buzz Feiten alongside a Jeff Baxter's consummate dexterity when laying ear to what this cat does. Every cut in Like That is in quartet format with sit-ins Neil Steubenhaus, Mitch Forman, Larry Goldings, Vinnie Colaiuta, and others, including a hip Deron Johnson on Rhodes. Richman can stretch and purr like a cat in afternoon sun or pounce like a panther, it all depends on his mood. Whenever I listen to this stuff, I want to hop over to Jukka Tolonen, Cassiopeia, old Crusaders, Passport, that sort of aquiline fusion.
Richman prefers Strats and Telecasters, so you get a pronounced electric edge in his playing, a fat warm distortion well leashed and distilled like brandy, the result of an atomic physicist who knows how to make electrons behave. Hiram Bullock tried going solo in this direction, momentarily doing spectacularly before heading for chart action and blowing the gig. Richman, on the other hand, just plows through all that, laying down buzzlines and sonorities like they were nothing, smooth and confident to a fault.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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