Big Neighborhood

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Big Neighborhood
Big Neighborhood.jpg
Studio album by Mike Stern
Released August 11, 2009 (2009-08-11)
Recorded New York City, Austin, Texas, Los Angeles
Genre Jazz, jazz fusion
Length 68:49
Label Heads Up International
Producer Jim Beard
Mike Stern chronology
Who Let the Cats Out?
(2006)Who Let the Cats Out?2006
Big Neighborhood
All Over the Place
(2012)All Over the Place2012

Big Neighborhood is the fourteenth solo studio album by jazz guitarist Mike Stern. The 2009 release was produced by Jim Beard and released by Heads Up International. It debuted at number five on the Billboard Top Traditional Jazz Albums chart and was nominated for the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album. Despite the chart success and Grammy nomination not all critics praised the release.


Music is like a big neighborhood - a place where anything and everything can happen. You can find all kinds of things in a big neighborhood - all kinds of different people, all kinds of different ideas and perspectives, and of course, all kinds of different sounds.
Mike Stern, on the album's title[1]

Big Neighborhood was Stern's second release on Heads Up, a follow up to 2006's Who Let the Cats Out?.[2] Most of the album was recorded in New York City, but Stern also traveled with a rhythm section to Austin, Texas to record with guitarist Eric Johnson, and then to Los Angeles to record with guitarist Steve Vai and drummer Dave Weckl.[1] Vai played guitar on the title track[2] and sitar on "Moroccan Roll".[3]

The album was nominated for the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album[4] but lost to the Joe Zawinul album 75.[5] This was Stern's sixth nomination in this category.[6] The other nominees were Urbanus by Stefon Harris, Sounding Point by Julian Lage, and At World's Edge by Philippe Saisse.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Big Neighborhood
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[2]

Jonathan Widran of Allmusic commented on the diversity of styles on "Big Neighborhoor", writing that it "range[s] from blazing jazz fusion to African-tinged exotica and trippy Middle Eastern journeys." He called the release "one block party jazz fusion fans won't want to miss in 2009!"[2]

Bill Meredith quipped in the JazzTimes that the album "simply lacks the unbridled improvisation and interplay of his stage shows" and that "[t]he guests are also so numerous that things feel contrived". He closed his review by opining that "with better sequencing and a solid band ... [it] might not seem so all over the place."[3]

In his review for The Virginian-Pilot, Eric Feber wrote that "It’s a beautiful day in jazz guitarist Mike Stern's Big Neighborhood" and closed with "[n]o matter the genre or collaborator, Stern holds his own with lightning-fast, sinewy riffs and impressionistic guitar filigrees."[8]


All tracks composed by Mike Stern.

  1. "Big Neighborhood" - 7:40
  2. "6th Street" - 7:49
  3. "Reach" - 5:30
  4. "Song for Pepper" - 5:43
  5. "Coupe de Ville" - 4:36
  6. "Bird Blue" - 5:44
  7. "Moroccan Roll" - 7:06
  8. "Long Time Gone" - 7:52
  9. "Check One" - 7:39
  10. "That's All It Is" - 4:52
  11. "Hope You Don't Mind" - 5:18



Chart (2009) Peak
US Top Jazz Albums (Billboard)[9] 13
Billboard Top Traditional Jazz Albums[10] 5


  1. ^ a b "Guitarist Mike Stern plays with talented friends in a Big Neighborhood" (Press release). The Official Mike Stern Pages. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d Widran, Jonathan. "Review: Big Neighborhood". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Meredith, Bill (October 2009). "Jazz Reviews: Big Neighborhood Mike Stern". JazzTimes. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  4. ^ Barton, Chris (3 December 2009). "Solid choices in Grammy jazz nominations". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 11 May 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  5. ^ Barton, Chris (31 January 2010). "Familiar names dot jazz categories". The Victoria Advocate. Archived from the original on 12 May 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  6. ^ "A Look At This Year's Grammy Award Jazz Nominees". Journal of Turkish Weekly. 27 January 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2011. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Levine, Doug (26 January 2010). "A Look at This Year's Grammy Award Jazz Nominees". Voice of America. Archived from the original on 11 May 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  8. ^ Feber, Eric (2 October 2009). "Mike Stern - Big Neighborhood". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "Mike Stern Chart History (Top Jazz Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Jazz/Classical/World". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. 121 (34): 61. 29 August 2009. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 2 May 2011.