...(McLean has) a sweeping, gorgeous, day-glo tone from his guitar that grabs the ear even in a crowd; once he has your attention, he holds on to it with quick, hard stories perched between street-talk and Olympian pronouncement.
Each important members of Chicago's jazz scene for two decades, guitarist McLean and bassist Sommers further solidified their musical rapport through touring and recording with vocalist Kurt Elling over the last several years. The seeds of "Parts Unknown" were planted after a Chicago performance of the duo with the dynamic New York vibist Joe Locke. Enlisting Chicago drummer Xavier Breaker, the group ended up recording this set of original, slippery, joyous and eclectic modern jazz gems. "...Clark Sommers plays with a rock-bottom, infectious groove...securely steeped in the jazz tradition." - JAZZ.COM
1. Blondie Roundabout 8:23 Locke
2. Labor Day 5:31 McLean
3. Time Window 8:43 Sommers
4. Parts Unknown 5:30 McLean
5. Safe and Sound (At the Edge of the Milky Way) 6:18 Locke
6. All Alone 7:35 Mal Waldron , arr. Sommers
7. Farther From That 6:35 Sommers
8. Last Call 5:49 McLean
John McLean - guitar
Clark Sommers - Bass
Joe Locke - Vibes
Xavier Breaker - Drums
Produced by John McLean & Clark Sommers
Recorded & mixed by Vijay Tellis Nayak
at Transient Studios, Chicago, IL
Mastered by Brian Schwab, Chicago, IL
Cover photo courtesy Focus Images
Band photograph by Chad McCullough
Cover design by John Bishop
All About Jazz (Dan Bilawsky)
4 1/2 STARS It's amazing what can happen when you take a tight-knit, deep-dish duo reflective of Chicago's jazz riches, add one of the world's most dexterous and expressive vibraphonists, and sweeten the deal with a grooving up-and-comer. Charts are mapped over uncharted territories, musical assuredness carries the day in uncertain realms, and sur ...
Midwest Record (Chris Spector)
Ditching Larry Hobgood wasn't the only radical change Kurt Elling made a few years ago as he jettisoned the rest of his backing crew on board here as well. The dismissal doesn't seemed to have done this duo any harm as they picked up some new pals and proceeded to embark on an easily progressive but still swinging route. With a four on the floor ...
All About Jazz (Friedrich Kunzmann)
This inventive Chicago Quartet finds Kurt Elling's long time backing team comprised of guitarist John McLean and bassist Clark Sommers pushing into original sonic adventures with fresh modern twists. The band's debut outing for Origin Records also features drummer Xavier Breaker and vibes veteran Joe Locke whose tone and style accompanies and inter ...