JazzTimes - p.85
"fans can rest easy with HI-LO SPLIT, as Antoine returns to his snappy, acoustic pop-jazz sound."
Personnel: Marc Antoine (bass guitar); Bobby Martinez (flute); Manuel Machado (flugelhorn); Frederic Gaillardet (keyboards); Andre Manga (bass guitar); Ramoncito 'El Leon' Gonzalez (conga drum); Luis Conte (percussion).
Paris-born, Madrid-based contemporary jazz guitarist Marc Antoine switches to Peak Records for his eighth newly recorded solo album Hi-Lo Split (a title that reflects his new appreciation for poker), but he doesn't change his overall approach appreciably. Working in his home studio, he does back off of the more hip-hop-oriented Modern Times in the sense that there's no DJ this time. But this is still pretty much standard-issue contemporary jazz. On one tune after another, Antoine sets up a percolating rhythm track, then solos over it, usually using a nylon-string guitar (though occasionally switching to a Mexican requinto guitar), sometimes doubling on a steel-string. Frederic Gaillardet contributes keyboards and some subtle string arrangements, and Andre Manga plays bass. On "Silk & Steel" (its title reflecting the combination of nylon- and steel-string playing), Manuel Machado shadows the solos with a muted trumpet. It's worth remembering while listening to Antoine's cover of "Spooky" that before the song was a pop hit for Classics IV it was introduced as a jazz instrumental by saxophonist Mike Sharp. "Groovin' High" boasts a Spanish horn section. "Panacea" is a remake of a tune co-written by Antoine that was featured by his old band Greyboy in the film Get Shorty. "Bossalectro," as its title implies, has a bossa nova rhythm. And "Tomorrow," the closing track, is a slow ballad featuring an overtly electronic backing track. Thus, Antoine varies the effects from tune to tune, making for a varied, enjoyable listening experience, though still without doing anything out of the ordinary for a contemporary jazz outing. ~ William Ruhlmann