An accomplished guitarist's plea for continued relevance.
Mike Stern is a fantastic guitarist. There’s no way around this fact. His work in Blood, Sweat, and Tears was influential. His years with Miles Davis were impressive and strengthened his playing. Unfortunately, he was never the chief songwriter or composer in any of the projects that he helped make great. Those relationships were probably symbiotic as All Over the Place so disappointingly illustrates. While Stern’s playing is still phenomenal, the arrangements are mostly dull to the point of disbelief and only offer a few moments of any worth whatsoever. Somewhat infuriatingly, All Over the Place ends up in New Age territory on the whole, which may possibly be the most despicable genre to ever achieve massive popularity. Stern’s legacy deserves better, which is something he should have realized before releasing this. The guest performances—ranging from trumpeter Randy Brecker to and drummers Dave Weckl, Keith Carlock and Lionel Cordew—barely make this worth a begrudging listen.