Talent begets talent and Gideon King has found himself surrounded by a great deal of it. The New York guitarist, producer and band leader has put together a superb group of musicians in the new fusion group City Blog. The line-up is a who’s who of veteran studio professionals from the upper echelon of Manhattan’s studio session players. Handling bass duties is James Genus, who plays with Herbie Hancock, Daft punk and is the resident bass player for the Saturday Night Live band. Carol Leonhart sings lead and backing vocals on several tracks. She is best known for performing with technical gurus, Steely Dan. You could keep listing the accolades of King’s band but there wouldn’t be enough room left for a review. The new album titled, Gideon King & City Blog is a classy album that also isn’t afraid to bare it’s soul. A tale of love and loss in the big city.
Opening number and lead single ‘City Blog’ is lead by Kevin Hays brilliant piano playing slipping between funky chords and high ivory-tickling countermelodies. Elliot Skinner and Saul Kurtz deliver infectious, airy lead vocals detailing a treacherous cosmopolitan woman and a broken relationship. After a jazzy keyboard solo, King chimes in with a boisterous, progressive guitar lead. The overdriven guitar gives this smooth track some edge.
‘New York Is’ is as you would expect is a love song to New York, fully taking in to account its foibles and its madness. Grace Weber and Marc Broussard duet about taking chances and finding connections in the concrete jungle. The chorus’ simple refrain sums it up: “New York is perfect, perfect, perfect now and then”. King trades solos with Donny McCaslin’s ultra-metro saxophone.
‘Glide’, another standout track features banjo, upright bass and the most accessible music on the record, leaving behind the cramped-hand chord shapes and shifting timings to give a homespun vibe that gives you a brief breath of country air beyond the towering skyscrapers.
City Blog is a masterful album by seasoned musicians who own their craft. King’s approach to guitar in this medium is refreshing, unafraid to give it some juice while still remaining tasteful. Also refreshing is the passion with which the songs are delivered. Fusion is not necessarily known for its heart but City Blog delivers it in spades. This album is the perfect accompaniment to a posh night out on the town and back at the penthouse.