Shadow's Dance


Ken Franckling's Jazz Notes

John Monllos, Shadow's Dance, (self-produced)
When you think Newport, it is natural to think jazz because of the granddaddy of all jazz festivals. But is also good to do so because of the Newport-based talent – players who work in and around the coastal resort city year-in, year-out. One such player is guitarist John Monllos, who built his chops in a Newport-based Navy Band, and decided to stick around these parts after his military days were done. Monllos is a versatile, high-energy guitarist whose sound has absorbed quality portions of rock, funk, Latin and contemporary jazz (a la Pat Metheny and Mike Stern, not the jazz smoothies or instrumental popsters). The title track is gorgeous, with very sensual samba-rhythm that blends his acoustic guitar sound with some very nice flute work by reed player Art Manchester, another local deserving wider recognition. There’s a wonderful and uncanny Carlos Santana sound on the Monllos original “CSW,” the best I’ve heard by someone other than Santana himself. Not surprising, CSW stands for Carlos Santana Wannabe.” Trumpeter Doug Woolverton turns in fine support on “Shadow’s Dance” and the funky ballad “Red Wine Girl.” Non-originals here include bassist Joe Potenza’s “Where the Buses Don’t Run,” a hot version of Miles Davis’s “Nardis” and a tribute to Michael Brecker – on Brecker’s composition “African Skies.”

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John Monllos: Shadow