Mike Clinco fronts another modern contemporary, post-Metheny guitarset with Bob Sheppard on a very creditable tenor and ex-Zapateer WaltFowler on a punchy fluegelhorn. Clinco has impeccable taste in his lining.The rhythm section hits it when they should and gives the set a firm foundation that enables everyone to get in the groove. It’s all very nice indeed.
Other than a quite moving solo guitar version of Mancini’s “Charade,” this is an all-Clinco original set. He can craft something more than mere blowing vehicles and his ability to come up with lines that stick in the head certainly gives this recording an edge up. But it is the Clinco guitar that makes this set most memorable. He can writhe and twist with long lines, as in “Bookends,” and “Sonship;” he can crank the volume and get into a bluesy Rock bag as in “X Cue Says;” or he can get a more brittle sound with picking closer to the tailpiece, almost Djangoesque, in “Amalgam.”
That I’ve heard plenty of others like this lately should not detract from the truth of the matter—that Mr. Clinco has class and distinction. He can play. He can write.
– Cadence Magazine (Oct 30, 2009)
Mike Clinco has a pretty varied resume. His original instrument was the piano, and he also dabbled some with the tenor sax before settling on the guitar. Like many of his generation, he was enamored of Clapton and Hendrix before becoming interested in jazz. He has worked with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Bobby McFerrin, has been a sought-after session player and has composed for television and movies as well. On this CD he plays in quintet format, sharing the solo duties with flugelhorn and saxophone as well as a bit of flute. The result is nice mainstream jazz that is reminiscent of Pat Metheny and, to a lesser degree, Wes Montgomery. This is good stuff. Mike is a first-rate musician and pulls off each cut with inventiveness and verve. His fellow players are also topnotch, especially sax man Bob Sheppard, who contributes some really fine solos. All the cuts except “Charade” are originals and are all interesting. This is a fine album by a guitarist who deserves to be heard more. (Lars Gandil)
Lard Gandil – Victory Music (Aug 18, 2009)
As a first-call support artist, you must be an adaptable and, of course, knowledgeable player, possessing a broad musical vernacular. Guitarist Mike Clinco transmits these attributes on his 2009 release, featuring a top-flight ensemble of proven jazz veterans. It’s easy to discern why Clinco has been summoned to perform with vocalists Bobby McFerrin and Natalie Cole amid sessions with the late operatic star, Luciano Pavarotti.
Sparked by radiant horn choruses atop the guitarist’s largely melodic original compositions, the entire program looms as an exercise in good taste. Clinco often caresses a given theme via animated single note licks and a fluid delivery. His lines are not only breezy, but project a forceful mode of attack. Saxophonist Bob Sheppard and flugelhornist Walt Fowler serve as strong foils for the leader as they interweave storylines and render expressive solos.
Clinco steps on the distortion pedal during “X Cue Says,” where Sheppard’s edgy phrasings on tenor sax portray a rather cheery gait, abetted by perky choruses and crisp accents. With other pieces, the band executes circular motifs, and spunky jazz waltz grooves, chock full of harmonious textures. In addition, Clinco uses an acoustic guitar on the sublime piece titled “Charade,” composed by his former employer Henry Mancini.
The album is not about technical gymnastics. Clinco and his bandmates rev it up in spots, but the improvisational aspects are designed around various motifs and theme-building exercises. The release is a highly listenable gala, driven by the fact that Clinco makes his point sans glitter, glitz or excruciatingly long solos.
Glenn Astarita – All About Jazz (Jul 15, 2009