Online since August 2002

Former Iron Butterfly guitarist shows jazz chops

Reviewed April 2006

Sweet Spot
Sweet Spot
By Danny Weis

Marshmellow Records: 2006

To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.

From "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" to smooth jazz may seem a long journey. Although to be honest, founding Iron Butterfly guitarist Danny Weis had left the band before their opus hit was laid down.

Anyway, if Weis' first solo album, "Sweet Spot," is being marketed as a smooth jazz bit of easy listening, it's got far more bite to it than anything George Benson or Earl Klugh ever recorded: He's got much more in common with the adult contemporary sounds of fellow guitarist Johnny A than he does Spyro Gyra.

Now, if you listen to the first track, you might disagree – it is your typical uber mellow background music.

Stick with it, though, and by the third track, "Cat's Meow," he's into some very tasty Wes Montgomery territory with a heavy blues interlude (the Montgomery influence resurfaces later on the disc on a classic reading of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"). Further on, "Gunslinger" is a cross between jazz and acid rock that is as intriguing as it is fun. And on "Graham Street Shuffle," he's letting loose with a straight-ahead electric blues with accompanying horns and a Hammond B-3 to play off his guitar.

"Dinner at Nine" and "Inglewood" are in a bit of a Benson/Klugh groove, as is "Keep the Faith."

But even when playing less-challenging material, Weis shows impeccable taste and impressive chops.

Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).

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