Steve Hunter - 'The Manhattan Blues Project'

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Steve Hunter - 'The Manhattan Blues Project'

Blues aficionados and lovers of crafted classy guitar playing will be delighted.

What with his previous collaborations with Peter Gabriel, Alice Cooper, Jack Bruce, Aerosmith, David Lee Roth, Lesley West and Jason Becker, I'm a little embarrassed to admit that up until now I've been blissfully unaware of Blues guitarist Steve Hunter: especially with the now registered blind (due to Pigmentary Glaucoma) six-string expert having been a regular go to guy on the session scene since the 70's.

As you will have gathered from the title 'The Manhattan Blues Project', Hunter stays close to home with this solo effort, using the inspiration from favourite locations to fuel his music, the likes of '222 W 23rd', 'Gramercy Park', or 'Sunset In Central Park', the latter featuring wonderful strings from the band 2Cellos, all being easy paced Blues of the highest order. Although possibly too easy paced for some. Hunter does on the odd occasion break from that mould, with a straight instrumental – as all of this album is – run through of Peter Gabriel's 'Solsbury Hill' (Hunter played on the original) proving a wonder stroke, changing the mood and focus just enough to keep the attention amongst the similarly themed fare. The other cover version however blends in seamlessly, with a take on Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' becoming a beautiful stretched out Blues number.

'Twilight In Harlem' illustrates another side to what's on offer, adding in fiery solos and swooping guitars to the simply beautiful clean playing of Hunter, with his friends Joe Satriani and Marty Friedman adding sparkling contributions to the already scintillating mix. Impressively you can also pick out their contributions immediately, with both allowed to juxtapose their styles against Hunter's, and the same can also be said for guest slots elsewhere from Michael Lee Firkins ('222 W 23rd'), Joe Perry of Aerosmith and Johnny Depp(!) ('The Brooklyn Shuffle') and Tony Levin (bass on various tracks across the album) all adding touches you can immediately recognise as theirs, while blending perfectly with Hunter's vision.

With 'The Manhattan Blues Project', Steve Hunter states he has created an album that he's been "trying to get out for a long time". Blues aficionados and lovers of crafted classy guitar playing will be delighted he has.

Steven Reid

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