An electric guitar is not the first instrument that comes to mind when someone thinks about Latin music, but the idea is not new. Carlos Santana did it in the 70's fusing Rock with his Latin heritage. The difference is that John fuses jazz and Latin music playing the electric guitar.
A native of Walla Walla, Washington, John is an experienced guitar player. It was his experience in the 70s of teaching English in Latin America that influenced his music to this day. And, you may hear that influence all over his new CD, John L. Holmes y los amigos.
The first track, "La Vida Loquita," feels like a mambo, and one can even sense the clave, a rhythm figure essential in Afro Cuban music. In contrast, "Momentito" is a slow piece with a kind of an ethereal feeling, with the brass harmonizing with the electric guitar.
"Back Burner" is a groove that kind of reminded me of the classic Afro Blue by Mongo Santamaria, but in "Beyond Blue," they are back to Latin rhythms, reminiscent of a son cubano. When the trombone enters, the improvisation sounds like the salsa trombone players of the Fania era.
"It's All About You" and "There Will Come a Day" are a more jazz fusion tradition, the last one with a little funk. John shows his diverse influences in "And Then No Problema," kind of a reggae/funk. "It's My Guitar" has influences of South American music, especially the region of Peru and Ecuador, and there is some Miles Davis in "Quit That Some More."