‘Full Circle And The Great Temptation’ is the intriguing title of the debut album from Phoenix based guitarist Pete Gitlin. In fact it’s no more than a clever pairing of the names from two of the ten choice tracks yet in reality there is more to commend this collection than a catchy moniker. With guest performances from smooth jazz ‘A – Lister’ Jeff Kashiwa, production from John Herrera and a line up of backing musicians that includes George Benson’s former keyboard player Michael Broening and Wayman Tisdale’s touring bass man Mel Brown, the stage is set for something special. Truth to tell Gitlin rises to the challenge and, as he guides the listener through a sequence of his own enticing compositions, never disappoints.
Tunes such as ‘Full Circle’, ‘Angel Love’ and the beautifully haunting ‘Jennette’ all prove that Gitlin has a penchant for deliciously melodic contemporary jazz and when for ‘Sunrise’ he is joined by Pete Smith on pedal steel guitar they together generate a different yet gentle vibe that is entirely easy on the ear. In complete contrast is the natural choice for radio rotation, ‘Get Funk-ified’. Mid tempo in a down and dirty kind of a way it features cool piano from Broening, smouldering sax from Jeff Kashiwa and a bass line from Mel Brown that is to die for.
‘B Serious’ showcases more of Kashiwa’s impassioned sax and, although the tune quickly finds its funk drenched feet, Gitlin’s picture perfect playing ensures it is never ever off the chain. The semi instrumental rendition of ‘Sunshine Days’ is blessed by the fresh voice of Jodi Light. It’s a number that has a glow as warm as its title while ‘Chronic Ironic’ is a cool example of chilled out contemporary jazz. Here the wonderful guitar of Gitlin segues sublimely with mellow sax from Dominic Amato and Amato again comes up big for ‘The Great Temptation’. This feisty number is among the album’s best but, that said, the Smooth Jazz Therapy ‘top track’ is the handsome ‘Golden Love Light’. Rolling atop a delicious mid tempo groove, and with vocals from keyboard player Rachel Eckroth that are really something special, this is without doubt the real smooth jazz deal.
‘Full Circle And The Great Temptation’ is a welcome addition to this years crop of releases from jazz guitarists and has some gems buried within. Check it out and for more information go to www.petegitlin.com