Archive for July 22, 2015


This month’s featured artist is Chicago based guitarist Max V.

Considering the many years of success Argentine born electric guitarist Max Valldeneu has had playing blues and R&B everywhere from his adopted home base of Chicago to Europe and Japan, it’s not surprising that he brings the perfect mix of buoyant funk and gritty down home fire to his infectious, in the pocket and airplay ready urban jazz debut It’s About Love. Like his more renowned (at least thus far!) stylistic genre counterparts, Nick Colionne and Grammy winner Norman Brown, Valledeneu has high energy improvisational chops to spare, yet grounds his vibe perfectly in the two elements which guarantee that listeners won’t want to let go: groove and melody. It’s saying a lot about the versatile axeman’s songwriting ability that his originals including the high energy, brass-tinged opening title track, the easy, mid-tempo blues-R&B flavored “Just U and Me” and lush liquid soul ballad “I Just Wanna Be With You” (appearing in both vocal and instrumental versions) hold their own against three R&B/pop classics that will no doubt merit a lot of initial attention.

Valldeneu’s fluid lines smooth out the melody of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” which is grooved up by Roosevelt Purifoy’s sparkling Rhodes harmonies and Joewaun Scott’s plucky bass bottom. The guitarist’s dreamy take on Johnny Gill’s “My My My” is right up there among instrumental cover versions with saxman Gerald Albright’s renowned take). Valldeneu wraps his magical emotional rollercoaster with a light funk take on Michael Jackson’s “The Girl Is Mine,” adding touches of both playfulness and urgency via his swirling interaction with alto saxman Ronnie Graham. It’s always a challenge for an indie artist new to the smooth/urban jazz realm to break through and compete with the long established A-listers, but genre fans who love that George Benson/Wes Montgomery style of guitarisma will be
hooked instantly once they give Valldeneu a shot. It’s About Love but it’s so much more: the best indie instrumental recording of 2013 by far.

Friday, July 24, 2015 – 8:00 pm

La Fille Gallery, 336 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, Michigan 48933