Mark Lettieri, The Fearless Flyers Review
by Nolan DeBuke
Mark Lettieri is a full-time member of the Grammy Award-winning Jazz/World juggernaut Snarky Puppy and the virtuosic funk project The Fearless Flyers. He is also a sought-after session player and has toured with various significant artists. Lettieri is releasing a four-song EP called The Fearless Flyers with Jason “JT” Thomas on drums and Wes Stephenson on bass.
“Chucks & Pearl Snaps” opens the quartet of songs with a mellow groove feel. Stephenson and Thomas establish a great feeling groove in support of Lettieri’s guitar work. His tone is excellent, and he can get many textures and sounds that shape the melody sections. However, I use the term ‘melody sections’ very loosely. There is no ‘singable’ melody, but more or less, the song plays more like a hip groove with an outstanding guitar solo from Lettieri.
“Duster” is another catchy groove that plays more like a backing track than a fully fleshed-out song with a defined and singable melody. Do not get me wrong, the trio call play and Lettieri’s sound and touch on the guitar justify his status as a in demand band member, but more melody would be fantastic, especially in a trio format. Just check out some of the guitar-fronted music in the fusioneers category from this site, and you will instantly hear what I am talking about concerning definable melodies.
The Fearless Flyers is four songs from a very talented trio. Lettieri gets warm, beautiful tones from his guitar, and his time and touch are top-shelf. However, the compositions lack any discernible melody, and the music plays like a play-a-long or music minus one album with fantastic guitar solos in the middle.