Sheryl Bailey - Little Misunderstood
Recorded at Ambient Studios, Beltsville, MD, 1993-1994.
Reviewed by Bob Patterson
There's nothing misunderstood about Sheryl Bailey's talent. This woman positively smokes on the guitar. On this fusion-funk flavored disc, Bailey stretches her harmonic wings. There's plenty of screaming playing coming straight out of the Gambale/Henderson school, and a funky, quirky sensibility that hints of Scofield and Stern.
Sheryl Bailey currently teaches guitar at Berklee. She is a former student there and has studied with Rodney Jones and others. She also taught for several years in Baltimore. Her guitar playing days go back to childhood.
Throughout this recording, the individuality of Bailey's compositional voice rings out. You can hear the influences, and they are good ones. In addition to the above mentioned players, I caught whiffs of early Steps Ahead, Mick Goodrick, John Abercrombie and others. Bailey's sound as a player is developing (perhaps this isn't a fair comment, as this is a seven year old recording), and her style is apparent. What is not in debate are the chops. She can play whatever ideas strike her fancy.
This is definitely an ensemble work. Bailey gives her bandmates plenty of blowing room and they take it with a vengeance. Keyboardist George Colligan burns, especially on Early Stages. Tenor man Glenn Cashman and trumpeter Chris Battistone add a wonderful contrapuntal touch to Bailey's guitar work as well. The rhythm section, featuring a 'cast of thousands', delivers solid poweful grooves and a light swing feel when called upon.
Bailey is playing her Ibanez GB-10 on all tracks except for Shells Unshattered and Waltz fo NK, where she waxes lyrical on an Ovation steel-string acoustic. You'll hear lots of distortion tones and some guitar synth pads underneath. There's lots of ear candy for the fusion guitar fan on this disc.
Sheryl also sent me a demo CD of her new trio recording, and let me tell you, this is a player and composer to watch out for. Little Misunderstood is enough proof of that for me.