Sound — 10
Swing Shift is legendary guitar virtuoso Rik Emmett's fifth album and like the previous four is amazing. Crafted by a humble artist who has yet to lose brilliant ear for writing spiritually influenced masterpieces. Though this is his fifth album it is remembered more for being the second in a trilogy under the idea of the Open House Collection. The first one was an all-instrumental masterpiece detailing Rik's breath-taking Classical concept album. Swing Shift sees Rik taking on the challenge of almost every kind of Jazz that exists. Ranging from Acoustic to Swing Jazz there is a bit of flavor for everyone here. Everyone, not just Rik, plays with a crisp but delicate touch to give every note and melody line a chance to flow smoothly.
Lyrics — 9
Rik only sings on three songs, the first of three, Taste Of Steel, is an Acid Jazz number in the purest sense of the term, while the third, Mr. Bebop, is a tasty and moving touch on sizzling Arch-Type Jazz. The second of the three, One Look, is one of the strongest moments in Rik's lustrous career. A romantic and very tender Acoustic Jazz number that details his wide range that he uses as an instrument in of itself. The lyrics are not groundbreaking but they are very tasteful and sung full of passion.
Overall Impression — 9
But where this album succeeds is in the thick layers of guitar and piano trade offs. Though Rik does satisfy alone with Swizzle Stick, Gladhands and Key Chain, the album also offers the driving and melodic Arch-Type Jazz of Santa Fe Horizon. Also includes the mesmerizing Free Jazz Ragtime of Way Cool, Jazz Funk of the title track. But the albums highlights come in the form of tracks four and ten, the latter is a luscious take on Modal Jazz with Veronica's Blue Waltz. While the former stands out as one of the most recognized Jazz songs of the past twenty-five years. Track four, Three Clouds Across The Moon, is a Smooth Jazz masterpiece that seems destined for Thrash Metal but is kept in groove. Though it is turned into a shred fest live, here on the record it features Piano and Guitar solos that are waiting to bust out. The album is a wonderful addition to an already legendary career that will soon see the artist return to his Rocking roots, even if only for one album before turning into an even more eclectic entertainer. It is an album worth your money because it is perfect for entertainment, an education tot eh multiple styles as one of the pioneers of the Thrash Metal era revealed just how much Jazz is a criminally underrated genre, the influence it has on everyone. This is highly recommended.