Dreadlocked electric guitarist Hiram Bullock is best known as a monster of modern jazz fusion, with legendary associations stretching from Jaco Pastorius to Gil Evans, David Sanborn, and the Brecker Brothers. He's also amassed an impressive catalog of solo recordings but offers a unique twist on his usual presentation on Try Livin' It, by working with a handful of legendary peers (Will Lee, Ricky Peterson) and offering more of his stellar string crackle all in the service of pop-oriented vocal tunes. It's always exciting listening to Bullock's raging bed of electricity, but he has to mellow it out a bit for harmonic anthems like "After the Fall" and worldbeat lite tunes along the lines of "Try Livin' It." His voice is convincing on tunes like the up-groovin' title track, he gets a good groove going on "Can't Fight the Funk," and his attempts at thoughtful social commentary ("Greed," "Melancholy Night") are thought-provoking. But in the end, it's pretty much a well-played, slickly produced urban adult contemporary project with a few crunchy guitar lines and lots of little pleasantries that aren't half as exciting as his instrumental music. That's not to say it's not appealing, just that his singer/songwriter persona will most likely always be secondary to his fusion guitar god status.
Tracks: 1. After The Fall (6:29) 2. A Little Bit (4:35) 3. Try Livin' It (4:34) 4. Wild In The Streets (6:16) 5. Can't Fight The Funk (4:38) 6. Greed (4:57) 7. Melancholy Night (4:48) 8. When You're Lovin' (6:37) 9. Facts Of Life (6:39) 10. Born 2 Love U (5:46) 11. Summer Feeling (4:37)
Personnel: Katreese Barnes - Vocals Hiram Bullock -Guitar, Keyboards, Primary Artist, Producer, Vocals Clint DeGanon - Drums David Delhomme - Keyboards, Synthesizer Charley Drayton - Drums Jeremy Gaddie - Drums Frank Gravis - Bass Kenya Hathaway - Vocals Will Lee - Basst, Vocals Tom "Bones" Malone - Horn Ricky Peterson - Fender Rhodes, Keyboards, Organ, Piano (Electric), Vocals