Marc Antoine – Cruisin’


Antoine is a fine acoustic guitarist who has developed a style rooted in smooth jazz, but is always pretty interesting. In fact, Antoine, and his fellows, on this one, do work that could easily degenerate into light-funk hell.

Things start with a remake of the Sergio Mendes chestnut “Mas Que Nada.” Antoine and friends make it work nicely. With the wonderful Patti Austin helping out on vocals, Antoine solos around the proceedings like he’s both breezily removed from it, and like it’s part of his very being. An excellent start to hear this great player.

From there, things continue to build and showcase Antoine’s talents. It’s hard to think of a nylon-string guitar player being funky, but check out “On the Strip.” There’s a break in the middle with just him and drums that proves it can happen. Then, when everyone else falls back in, Antoine follows with an imaginative, fiery solo that highlights his great chops and the great rhythm section.

A lot of the songs have very interesting and hummable melodies too, an ingredient that’s absolutely necessary for this kind of thing to work. The Antoine-penned title cut is one of those melodies. Top it off with some dazzling stretching out that features single-lines, chordal work, and two and three note licks, and you’ve got a winner of major proportions.

There’s nice ballad work here too; “Indian Summer” is gorgeous. As is the light swinger “Java Montmarte.” Through all the tunes, Antoine displays chops, taste, and soul. If you’re a fan of smooth jazz with licks and guts, check this one out.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s Nov. ’01 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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