17 Hoff_Stern
Jan Gunnar Hoff Group featuring Mike Stern

Nuclear fusion is a reaction in which two or more atomic nuclei come close enough to form one or more different atomic nuclei and subatomic particles.

If you have ever wondered what ‘fusion’ sounds like musically…then wonder no more. It is laid out, immaculately, in this most special album. We hear fusion in all its glory, the crossover between jazz, funk and rock performed with perfect precision. This is achieved not only with excellence of composition and inexorable instrumental virtuosity, but also by choice of studio, production and mastering techniques. Best of all - the album sounds fresh, vibrant and it’s American superstar guitarist guest Mike Stern is, having recovered from a serious accident, back on top form

The collaboration between pianist Jan Gunnar Hoff and guitar legend Mike Stern started in 2006 with Hoff´s commission Magma for the Nordland Music Festival. In 2006-2008 the Jan Gunnar Hoff Group toured with Stern in Norway, Ukraine and Estonia and their CD Magma was released; a much appreciated album where Stern played a significant role. There was another successful tour in 2016 when Audun Kleive (drums) and Per Mathisen (bass) completed the Mike Stern & Jan Gunnar Hoff Quartet. 

Stern and Hoff´s plan for their 2018 project was to present compositions from both parties and find a ‘common ground’ for the new album. Hoff wrote 5 new tunes while Stern contributed 3 selections from his previous solo albums. During the band´s tour in March 2018 the material was further developed and arranged for this new recording.

The result is a varied album that showcases a great musical collaboration between Mike Stern
and his superb Norwegian counterparts Hoff, Kleive and Mathisen.

Some Day

The album opener is
an appealing and memorable theme played by guitar/keys leading to a lovely solo from Mike and an equally lovely acoustic piano solo from Jan Gunnar.

City Z

A “Milesy” jazz/rock blockbuster driven by Audun’s superb drumming and Per’s immaculate bass playing. Basically built over one chord, the groove-based track offers total freedom for soloists Jan Gunnar and Mike to trade thoughts.

Her Song

An uplifting ballad with a theme stated by Per’s fearless fretless Jaco-esque bass. Mike replays the theme, solos and sets the stage for delightful solos by Per and Jan Gunnar.

Seven Thirty

A tune originally recorded on Stern´s album Odds or Evens (1991), with more spectacular soloing from Mike and Jan Gunnar.

Point Blank

Hot stuff! A theme specified by a guitar/keys unison which makes way for short displays of utter brilliance by Per, Mike and Jan Gunnar underwritten by the tightest bass and drums in the West!

Common Ground

A heartwarming ballad composed by Mike who solos first and is shadowed by an enchanting acoustic piano solo by Jan Gunnar. This is reflective and relaxing music.

All You Need

Mike Stern´s
charming, feel good tune with the theme performed by unison guitar/keyboards and some vocal contribution from Mike. This leads to a characteristic Mike Stern solo, as melodic and blues-tinged as ever! The theme is restated followed by a dexterous synth solo by Jan Gunnar. Back to the theme, which by now, we can already sing along with!

Mike – 6/4

The closer
track in a walking 6/8 time (if you walk quickly!) delivers a stunning rock-fused solo by Mike and a stimulating, cascading acoustic piano solo by Jan Gunnar.

Jazz/rock firepower, blues, synthesis, combination, mixture, blending, and integration – this is music impeccably performed by four of the very best musicians on the planet. Enjoy!

David Fishel