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LEON HUNT 'Miles Apart Get' Real Records GGRCD005

This one sure ain't pickin' and grinnin' - somebody call the banjo police!

This young Englishman debuts with an album of true transatlantic twists and turns - bluegrass jazz meets the celtic fringe - with some fine results. Recorded both in Music City USA and er, Bath, he's managed to recruit an army of the finest Nashville cats (Stuart Duncan, Viktor Krauss, Matt Flinner, David Grier) and top line celts Flook and Michael McGoldrick to name but a few, for a dream team debut.

As you would imagine the playing is exemplary throughout and if you like the more imaginative stylings of Alison Brown and Bela Fleck (who, unsurprisingly Master Hunt has studied with) then this album will be right up your street. The album features four originals by Hunt where obviously his prestigious talent comes to the fore - notably on 'The Radio Detective' and for an album full of guest stars the ensemble playing has a great group feel to it.

'Safe Return Of The Venture' features Daily Planet as his backing band - a tune with a simple single line motif that creates great space for Hunt to work up some superb solos within its framework. But when he cover the jazz masters - Duke Ellington's 'Caravan and Pat Metheny's 'James' the jazzgrass angle is pushed too far - he's essentially hemmed in by the weight of the original compositions. However overall this is a very refreshing album, the production is slick but not sickly and has a bright natural feel throughout. But it's a wonder how on earth, with all these guests, he's going to be able to tour it?

Iain McQueen.

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This album was reviewed in Issue 58 of The Living Tradition magazine.