Newport, Rhode Island has a reputation for great music. The best known venue is the famous Jazz Festival held there each summer. But locals know there is a cadre of talent deserving wider recognition and guitarist John Monllos is among those leading the pack. After years honing his chops in the Navy Band, Monllos has become a fixture on the Newport music scene. He plays regularly at local spots around Rhode Island with saxman and woodwind specialist Art Manchester. Monllos' talents have put him in demand as a player for growing acts like the MSD Quintet among others. As you listen to the tunes on "Shadow's Dance," you'll quickly hear a composition style reflecting the influence of 60's rock, 70's funk, Latin styles, and the history of jazz. The striking feature of Monllos' playing style is the finesse with which he deploys his ample skills. Tasteful playing, blending the influences of Santana, Pat Metheny, Mike Stern, and others create a musical mixture that's sensuous but with bite! A varied pallet of exotic spices. At times it burns, or soothes, and then with another sip simmers again, begging for another spin of the disk, or a click back track on the iPod! Monllos treats with 7 originals, a nod to guitarist Carlos Santana, and the late saxophonist Michael Brecker. The supporting cast is superb. Monllos' music is easily buoyed with the bass work of Joe Potenza, propelled forward by the rock solid drum chops of Rick Andre, the keyboards of Paul Bisch lend color, along with a taste of 70s electric piano to the mix. Art Manchester's flute takes us to Rio on the street samba inspired title track "Shadow Dance," and his Tenor is equally meaty on "Blues Burger." Dig what trumpet phenomenon Doug Woolverton uncorks with Monllos on the funky "Red Wine Girl." So sit back, throw on "Shadow's Dance" and let the music take you for a sail on the bay or a cruise down the road. But keep your eyes on what is next because John Monllos will already be there to show you the way. - Mark Simpson is a Radio Host and the Assistant News Director for Public Radio Station WMFE in Orlando. One listener's response to Shadow's Dance: - John: Nancy and I have listened to your CD and just wanted to convey what an absolutely fantastic album it is. We got your e-mail thanking us for the purchases, now it is our turn to thank you for providing us with your wonderful music. Most of the time when I listen to an album I always pick out one or two tunes that I listen to over and over to the exclusion of the rest. On your album I haven\'t been able to do that as all the songs are great. As always you and Art work together effortlessly and what a good group of musicians backing you up. I like your eclectic playing and the album showcases it. If I close my eyes I hear Wes Montgomery, Lee Ritenour, Santana; but when I open them I realize it\'s your sound and a special one at that. Keep up the great work. Now that this album is done It\'s time for me to be bugging you for the next one. Dick G.
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