fans of Marc Antoine who relish the sounds of albums past,
your wish has come true. With authentic Spanish
flavor and a return to the nylon string guitar, Marc Antoine
is presenting his debut CD on Peak Records, Hi-Lo
Split. The album gives us ten original
tracks and one cover.
The CD opens with two very strong tracks. “For
A Smile” and the title track, “Hi-Lo Split,” are
total radio hits for smooth jazz. Both are fun, upbeat,
catchy tunes setting the tone for this CD. The CD’s
only cover, “Spooky,” is well done, but unnecessary. This
CD can certainly carry itself with out it.
Steel” and “Cancun Blue” show
us exactly what Marc Antoine is capable of doing. Both
have incredible guitar works and feature Marc on both the
nylon and steel string acoustics. Luis Conte provides
the percussion throughout and the muted trumpet on “Silk
and Steel” adds depth and flavor. On “Groovin’ High,” Marc’s
serious guitar playing truly shines. He plays the requinto
(a smaller, higher pitched) guitar and the nylon string and
really just lets loose flanked by a great horn arrangement. For
a slower pace, check out “Forever.” It’s
a crisp, clear portrait of the versatility of this guitarist.
my favorite track on this CD is “Panacea.” This
is a beat-driven tune that matches Marc on nylon string and
electric guitars, and keyboards with the tenor sax of Bobby
Martinez. The song is fast-paced and intense. The
note-for-note match up leads into a great sax solo followed
by keys. The bossa nova of “Bossalectro” shows
Antoine’s sense of style and love of this Brazilian
music. It truly feels like his soul is part of this
tune. His guitar licks are flawless. “Voodoo
Doll” and “Tomorrow” feature Marc on all
instruments. Both are more introspective pieces that
showcase the precision of Antoine’s playing.
this is a CD that truly returns to the style and flavor that
made Marc Antoine a smooth jazz favorite to begin with. This
will be in my top ten for this year’s best CDs.
- Bonnie Schendell