So Right by Chuck Yamek – reviewed by Chris Mann
Yamek’s musical gift became apparent at the age of seven in
Cleveland, Ohio, when he got his first guitar. His talent led him to
Los Angeles in 1980 where he became a sought-after studio guitarist
working with top-flight session players like Tommy Tedesco and Fred
Tackett. He has worked with musicians from bands such as Eric Clapton,
Tower of Power, Three Dog Night, Bob Seger, Little Feat, David Lee
Roth, The Moody Blues, The Temptations and Wild Cherry.
applies a wide range of styles to touring and session work, and his
experiences have led him to recording his first solo album. Touring
and playing live is still his first love, where his devotion to music
and his technique leave a lasting impression.
title track of this first album has a mellow groove that immediately
puts me in mind of such favourite players as Norman Brown.
That lazy style on semi-acoustic (and I mean that in the nicest
way) is so beautifully complemented by Craig Yamek’s light touch on
drums and Woody Lingle’s tasteful bassline.
Groove.Com has a chunky synth bass and lives up to its
name. The tenor sax of Mitch Reilly adds class to an already classy
tune. It adds the same
touch to the slower, moodier and gorgeous Thumbs.
is a sublime steel-strung acoustic guitar carrying the pretty melody
on Afternoon with Paris, dedicated to one of his daughters. L.A. Kinda Thang has a choppier rhythm and is funkier
than the previous tunes but also a little mechanical-sounding.
only non-original composition in this set, Freddie Hubbard’s Little
Sunflower, receives a gorgeous treatment and Craig Yamek’s
spot-on rimshots and cymbal work combine with Chris Kent’s flawless
bass to provide the perfect rhythm section.
A piano and soprano sax intro to the romantic Seawind
set the scene for another pretty acoustic guitar melody.
If you’re looking for a song for your wedding video, choose
this gem. If there were
any justice, this would find its way onto a movie soundtrack.
Theme, dedicated to Yamek’s other
daughter, has a lovely, elegant Acoustic Alchemy feel to it.
He has Greg Carmichael’s nylon-strung acoustic tone.
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.
Boppin’ Around is a bright, upbeat number that goes
through several chord changes and mood changes.
Pat Coil on piano captures a great Joe Sample feel on some
parts of this lovely song. Rewind!!
An uplifting mood is kept up for A Little Latin Fiesta.
The key’s in the title, but the song has its moody moments
too. Mitch Reilly’s
flute sounds great. It’s
just a pity Glen Caruba’s percussion didn’t receive the spotlight
ashamed by how long it has taken me to write this review, but I can
tell you that having first heard this CD over a year ago and listening
to it again to finalise my notes, I’m enjoying it as much now as I
did when I first heard it. The
quality of writing, production and above all musicianship prove
consistently satisfying over a long period and that should place this
album high on your shopping list.
Fans of Norman Brown and Nick Colionne, make a note.
MoPay Records – RIV9919-2
Producer – Chuck Yamek