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ALBUM REVIEW: "Lotus" 

Mike Moreno

"Lotus"

World Culture Music

mikemoreno.com

He may be overshadowed by more famous guitarists like Pat Metheny and Mike Stern, but Mike Moreno has earned a reputation as one of the top up-and-coming guitarists on the scene. In fact, Metheny has called him "a really talented guy," and Stern has said his playing is "incredibly lyrical." After one listen to Moreno's current album, "Lotus," you'll hear it for yourself. Moreno is not only a great player, who has enhanced the bands of Stefon Harris, Joshua Redman, Jeremy Pelt and others, he's also a superb composer.

The nine original tunes on "Lotus" are evocative, dream-like journeys perfectly designed to showcase Moreno's expressive style on electric and acoustic guitars. As for the sidemen, drummer Eric Harland and bassist Doug Weiss play with propulsive energy, driving every track. Longtime collaborator, pianist Aaron Parks, who is excellent throughout, takes an especially beautiful solo on "The Last Stand." While that tune is a prime example of Moreno's up-tempo compositions, he's also capable of gorgeous ballads like "Can We Stay Forever?"

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