Together, Stern and Johnson turn in a wickedly tasteful shred fest that will appeal more to those with an affinity for exceptional six-string playing than average listeners.
Exploring a myriad of styles in which to deploy their respective fretboard fireworks, guitar virtuosos Mike Stern and Eric Johnson prove natural and sympathetic musical partners on the appropriately titled Eclectic. Tackling material from across their respective idioms (jazz for Stern, rock and blues for Johnson), Eastern styles (“Bigfoot”, featuring Stern’s wife Leni on vocals) and nearly everything in between, the pair finds themselves fully adept at each, displaying an exemplary level of musicality while still retaining their individual voices.
Clocking in at well over an hour, Eclectic provides plenty of space for the pair to spread out, pushing each other to even greater heights, testing their respective limits in the process. Ably backed by drummer Anton Fig and bassist Chris Maresh, Stern and Johnson find plenty to say across these 12 tracks, each showcasing the respective styles for which they are best known. While an enjoyable listen, it will ultimately appeal more to six-string aficionados than the average listener.