Guitarist-extraordinaire Carl Burnett has been around the block, with a list of credits that includes working with Branford Marsalis, Robben Ford, David Sanborn, stints on the Tonight Show and David Letterman, and two Grammy nominations. With his new release "Life Before Midi: Naked" however, Burnett puts fourth a brutally bold and honest effort that includes eleven instrumental tracks of unrehearsed, unedited, live jamming with no click tracks, no midi programming and no over dubs.
Needless to say, this is a daring effort undertaken by a musician with obvious confidence. With various friends to help out, this organic jazz/funk experiment rocks from the outset. The opening "Loud Party Warning" and Funk E Mo Fo" are chock-full of deep bass grooves (from Reggie Hamilton and Wyzard), punctuating drum fills, and of course, Burnett's sometimes-fiery-sometimes-groovin' leads. "Dick Cavette's Blues" and "The Next Thing" offers up some smokin' progressive jazz/rock with a guest appearance from guitarist Robben Ford, while "Shufflin' Dee" and "Another Slide" create an instant 70s-Jeff Beck Group feel about them.
However, on other tracks such as "Too far Away" and "Tutto Azzurro", Burnett takes a more smooth Hendrix-like approach ala "Castles Made Of Sand". Other guest appearances include jazz great Branford Marsalis on "Family" and the aforementioned "Tutto Azzurro". Carl Burnett successfully combines numerous vibes as a surprisingly cohesive unit, especially considering these songs are unrehearsed. As a matter of fact, I had forgotten that very point while listening to the disc, not realizing it again until reading the promo sheet at the end. Life before Midi is a good effort to be enjoyed by fans of the fusion-style instrumental genre.