Steve Oliver – 3D
(Koch – 2004)
by Paula Edelstein
Steve Oliver’s latest offering, 3-D, is ripe with the intriguing challenges that spotlight his mastery of the acoustic and electric guitars listeners first heard on Positive Energy and First View. Eleven songs attest to the fun, imagination and virtuosity that went into the making of this excellent recording and the vibe and satisfaction Oliver has at this point in his musical career. Accompanied by the likes of Harvey Mason on drums, Tom Schuman on keyboards, saxophonist Eric Marienthal, Will Donato on sax and Larry Antonino on bass.
The multi-dimensional set offers an array of rhythmic, harmonic and melodic experiences including three compelling and soulful lead vocal cuts. On “Magic World,” Oliver’s vocalese conveys the melody while his fingers do the talking up and down the neck of his classic acoustic guitar. He switches to the electric guitar on “In the Shade of the Cool,” and offers a bluesy edge to this upbeat song. With his contemporary jazz radio hit “Chips and Salsa,” we get the full-on Latin flavor and the infectious spice of Steve’s positive groove.
Of the many approaches Steve Oliver uses to excite his fans, his focus on playing out of position to use chord shapes as a visual and kinesthetic anchor, chord progressions to add color and texture, and playing up the neck and at the bottom of the neck are by far some of his most rewarding. The beautiful musical ideas heard on “Imagine,” will charm and delight you. By using more than one octave, and varying the chord progressions, he really adds to his melodic guitar solo. Oliver closes with “See You Soon,” a beautiful ballad that truly spotlights his soulful vocals and genuine love of what he feels and enjoys doing.