Orleans to London

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Former Detroiter —by way of Temperance, Mich. — McIntosh is now a Las Vegas-based session guitarist of the highest order. His six string excursions are both liberating and inspirational, fueled, to a large extent, by a stellar cast of characters along for the ride. And when a musician has got the support of Ronnie Wood, members of the Neville Brothers, drummer "Mean" Willie Green and Jeff Beck (credited here simply as "Hot Rod"), well, things are definitely gonna get hot.

And indeed they do, as all 11 tracks here simmer and cook in a rootsy jazz-inflected gumbo of "N'awlins" street beats, improvisational filigree and British-influenced blues-rock. "Biker Babe" sets the pace with some slick and funky organ playing by Ivan Neville blended with nice metric shifts and chordal breaks from McIntosh. "It Was a Virus" follows with passionate and muscular vocals by Neville and clever lyrical irony by comedian-magician Penn Jillette. It's an obvious play for a single and the only vocal tune on the album.

Other highlights include "G-Spot," with its reggae jam-type feel, featuring dueling leads by McIntosh and Beck; the spacey and atmospheric Mike Stern-John Scofield-influenced "Woody"; "Rogent," a slow burning vamp featuring McIntosh, Wood and Beck; and a Latin-tinged psychedelic reading of Jimi Hendrix's classic "Third Stone from the Sun."

If you're an aficionado of well-crafted guitar playing and like your jazz and fusion flavored with a large helping of grit and greasy funk, then this Detroiter made good may just be your man.

Eric Harabadian writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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