By Anthony Dean-Harris | Published March 2020
It’s hard not to call Darren Barrett’s Mr. Steiner—a tribute to Nyle Steiner, the inventor of the EVI and EWI—smooth jazz. The music certainly references the r&b-influenced sounds of a very specific era. Ballad “dB Plus KG” is smooth enough as Barrett and saxophonist Kenny Garrett mesh. But the guitar-focused “Deal For Real” moves beyond the album’s intentions to become a touch more interesting. The shift’s a brief one, though, as “EVI Theme #1” seems like nothing more than a jingle. While Barrett’s utilizing a period instrument to offer contemporary ideas, those ideas simply creep a bit too close to the smooth world.
Mr. Steiner (The EVI Sessions): Mr. Steiner; Keep It Moving; Only You Know; Nu Vibrations; dB Plus KG; Botnick; Deal For Real; You See Me; EVI Theme #1. (29:54)
Personnel: Darren Barrett, EVI, EWI; Kenny Garrett, alto saxophone; Noah Preminger, tenor saxophone; Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jeffrey Lockhart, Roy Ben Bashat, François Chanvallon, guitar; Santiago Bosch, keyboard; Chad Selph, organ; Daniel Ashkenazy, Gonn Shani, bass; Mathéo Techer, Roni Kaspi, drums; Judy Barrett, percussion.