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Some impressive guitar chops

Sweet Spot
Sweet Spot
By Danny Weis

Marshmellow Records: 2006

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This review first appeared in the March 16, 2006 issue of the North County Times.

From "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" to smooth jazz may seem a long journey. Although to be honest, founding Iron Butterfly guitarist Danny Weis had left the band before their opus hit was laid down.

Anyway, if former San Diegan Weis' first solo album, "Sweet Spot," is being marketed as a smooth jazz bit of easy listening, it's got far more bite to it than anything George Benson or Earl Klugh ever recorded: He's got far more in common with the adult contemporary sounds of fellow guitarist Johnny A than he does Spyro Gyra.

Now, if you listen to the first track, you might disagree – it is your typical ber mellow background music.

Stick with it, though, and by the third track, "Cat's Meow," he's into some very tasty Wes Montgomery territory with a heavy blues interlude (the Montgomery influence resurfaces later on the disc on a classic reading of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"). Further on, "Gunslinger" is a cross between jazz and acid rock that is as intriguing as it is fun. And on "Graham Street Shuffle," he's letting loose with a straight-ahead electric blues with accompanying horns and a Hammond B-3 to play off his guitar.

"Dinner at Nine" and "Inglewood" are in a bit of a Benson/Klugh groove, as is "Keep the Faith."

But even when playing less-challenging material, Weis shows impeccable taste and impressive chops.