Mike Clinco has been hard at work for 25 years now as a composer and guitar player. On Neon, a nine track recording, Clinco firmly establishes his presence in the jazz community as a force to be reckoned with. Neon is equal parts contemporary and smooth jazz sprinkled with rock and occasional Latin influences. All the tracks except "Charade" are originals. Clinco's excellent leadership and infinite musicianship help to drive Bob Sheppard (tenor & alto sax, flute), Walt Fowler (flugelhorn), Derek "Oles" Oleszklewicz (acoustic bass), Jimmy Johnson (electric bass) and Jimmy Branly (drums and percussion) to high levels of execution with their instruments. Not to say they need a push, Clinco simply inspires them. All of them are excellent complements to the amazing guitar runs that he manages throughout this CD.
The title track has some amazing bass lines in it, which was the one thing that I caught on to quicker than everything else for some reason however that was the only track that my focus was jarred from Clinco's impressive six-string manipulation.
"X Cue Says" is a marvelous example of clear and concise guitar lines while "Beaten Paths" is a stage for the versatility and genre flip flopping that makes Clinco a player to be admired and respected by his contemporaries and adored by fans of instrumental jazz. "Beaten Paths" is on fire with rock, jazz, and Latin riffs peeled off in several layers to suit each part of the composition. It finds a way home to the finish line triumphantly, taking complexity and turning into simplicity. This is a masterstroke of pure musical genius at work. I was amazed at the fluidity and craftsmanship of Clinco on this track more than any other.
I highly recommend Neon to jazz listeners, guitar players, and those in the industry that are looking for tracks suitable for several types of media that need a soundtrack. In the end regardless of these facts, this is a great jazz album featuring a player that everyone should listen to. He takes guitar playing to another level rarely attained.