JJ Sansaverino,
Sunshine After Midnight
(Alzejo, 2005)

Jazz guitarist JJ Sansaverino has over the past number of years built quite a reputation for himself as a purveyor of smooth, slick, laidback grooves and what press releases often call "intoxicating" rhythms.

Employing a wide range of styles -- from Mexicana and South American rhythms through more classical jazz leanings -- JJ wields his axe with some aplomb. On Sunshine After Midnight, his debut album, he delivers a full showcase of the extent of his considerable talents.

Opener "Sunshine" gets things off to the aforementioned laidback groove start. Against a lazy backbeat, JJ unfolds a series of licks and riffs that are jazzy, sure, but also very danceable too. The rest of the first three tracks are in this vein, constituting something of a chill-out introduction to the man.

"Rejuvenation" does just what it says on the tin. Introducing a jangly reggae foundation, JJ plays light arpeggios over the top and creates a nice sunny soundscape. Again the production, as with the album as a whole, is incredibly slick and smooth.

On "Fuego," there is a North African feel to proceedings, with a funky undercurrent and some great interplay between JJ and the various wind instruments on the recording. Other highlights include the reflective pairing "Mother" and "My Lover" and the uptempo "The Rhythm of the City."

Throughout the album, there is a good mix of dance-type beats, samples and consummate playing from JJ and the rest of the personnel.

Overall, a really good album and a good introduction to the man who played at Sir Paul McCartney's (ill-fated) wedding, and who has played alongside George Clinton, the Jungle Brothers, Shabba Ranks and Toots & the Maytals.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Sean Walsh

12 January 2008

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