Gene Segal,
(Innova, 2009)

Russian-born guitarist Gene Segal has put together more than an hour of original material for his 10-track CD, Hypnotic. Segal is an excellent guitarist -- maybe a bit too good, in that he can fall into noodling when he plays fast. The pace is varied throughout, however, and the more relaxed style of keyboardist Sam Barsh equalizes things.

Eight of the tracks feature a trio, along with drummer Matt Kane, with the other two tracks adding Mike Sim on tenor sax, Bryan Beninghove on tenor and soprano, and Jonathan Powell on trumpet.

The sound tends towards fusion. Segal seems influenced by rock, particularly in his occasional use of effects, although he does not copy any of the genre's overdone riffs. The two songs with the horns, the title track and "Alef," are both funk-based workouts nearly 10 minutes each. They do not have the repetition of funk, though, using the time for various solos.

The best tunes (to my ears, anyway) are the slower songs like "Four Flights Up" (nine minutes long) and "In The Morning," where Segal uses a rounder tone. On these melodic cuts he still shows off his playing ability without being too "busy."

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review by
Dave Howell

20 March 2010

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