guitar_international.jpgThe Guy Only Human Album Review 
By: Dr. Matt Warnock 

Only Human is an entertaining and intellectually challenging jazz-rock fusion release by Boston based instrumental guitarist and composer Christopher Schreiner, A.K.A. “The Guy.” The album features a strong supporting cast, with David Livolsi on bass, Tyger MacNeal on drums and keyboardist Chris Coogan contributing on two of the albums eight tracks. After graduating from the Berklee College of Music, Schreiner has established himself as one of the strongest up and coming guitarists on the East Coast. With such a strong debut release in Only Human, Schreiner has furthered that reputation and given himself a forward momentum that few young guitarists can hope to experience.

All of the compositions, with one exception, on the album were written and arranged by Schreiner. Showcasing his diverse influences, and tastes in music, the compositions range from the hauntingly ethereal “Intro,” to the fantastically funky “Zebra Club,” complete with sampled jungle sounds, to pop-rock-jazz hybrids such as “Icarus.” With such a wide range of genres, styles and grooves covered on one album, Schreiner is ensuring that there is something for every fan of instrumental guitar, rock, pop-rock and jazz to enjoy. While many young players tend to release an album of covers and standard tunes for their debut efforts, Schreiner should be commended for not only writing solid material, but for sticking his neck out by recording a debut album of original material.

Schreiner’s guitar work blends together modern rock-fusion elements with bluesy, jazz based harmonies and melodic material. Songs like “Icarus” draw up images of Vai, Satriani, Holdsworth, Metheny and Scott Henderson, with just enough Malmsteeneqsue sweep picking to keep shred heads happy, an homage to the diversity in Schreiner’s playing and in his musical influences. Other tracks, such as the Coltrane classic “Syeeda’s Song Flute,” are more laid back, focusing on the groove more than on chops. The result is a hard-driving, absolutely funky reinterpretation of a classic jazz tune. Overall Schreiner’s guitar playing is sophisticated, energetic and aurally stimulating, not bad for a player fresh out of College.

Only Human is a strong debut release for instrumental rock-jazz guitarist Chris Schreiner. The band is tight throughout, the tunes are well written and the solos are exciting and engaging. Few young guitarists out there today could have released a debut album as strong as this, and it leaves the door wide open for Schreiner to have a long and successful career if he continues to write, play and record at this level.

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