Led by guitarist/composer Mike Brannon, the Texas jazz fusion group Synergy Quartet has a superb instrumental CD out called Barcodes. Featuring heavyweight guests such as Trey Gunn (King Crimson, solo artist) and Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones), the ten tracks offer plenty for the jazz fusion enthusiast, including challenging, yet accessible arrangements, unusual guitar textures and fills, dynamic percussion (courtesy of Darren Kuper), jagged, off-kilter solos, and enough Metheny/Stern influenced lead work to forge a bond with jazz guitarists gone before. Barcodes is currently receiving airplay on over 200 radio stations, and it's easy to hear why - there is a sophistication and technical focus here which is carefully balanced with experimental forays and expressive, at times exotic flavorings. This creates a satisfying whole greater than the sum of the individual players, original material and clean production. Seek it out.
Mike's first exposure to the music that would influence his compositional style began early in life while listening to the car radio. Guitarists such as Wes Montgomery initially perked his ears, but when he eventually picked up the guitar, he got into groups such as the Rolling Stones, Cream and the Yardbirds. Discovering the music of Joe Pass and Herb Ellis led Mike to enroll in Jackie King's Guitar Conservatory of the South West. He later attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. The years of study and perfecting his guitar technique and composition prepared Mike for his eventual return to Texas and the formation of experimental trios, quartets and quintets that would later become the Synergy Quartet. The group has since won 'Best Jazz Group' twice from both The San Antonio News and The San Antonio Current.
Currently, the Synergy Quartet performs showcase clubs, special events and festivals. Work has started on a new studio CD slated for release in 2003, and will feature guest artists Paul Wertico (Pat Metheny Group), Harvie Swartz (Mike Stern, Pat Martino, Urban Earth), and Bob Berg (Miles Davis, Mike Stern).