Subscribe to Minor 7th Webzine!

July/August 2017 Short Takes

Modern Guitar Trio "At the Rococo Café" 2017 I do enjoy hearing what one guitar with two hands is able to produce when they are masters of their instruments, using all voices. Multiply that by three, with six hands, and you have a recipe for multi-level delight. That is what The Modern Guitar Trio bring in their latest recording, At the Rococo Cafe. If you have listened to other guitar trios or quarters, you know what I'm talking about; if not, then you should by all means get this disc to introduce you to the creative interweaving of melody, harmony, bass, and counterpoint. The Modern Guitar Trio is Roland Chadwick, Vincent Lindsay-Clark and Roland Gallery. The pieces on this recording are all compositions of the members of the trio. The first piece, "Rococo Cafe," is by Roland Chadwick, an impressive array of gentle, flowing movements, with absolutely killer technical sections that are meant to dazzle the listener, which they do. The six movements appear to be independent of one another, yet all hang together well as a suite. The second piece is by Vincent Lindsey-Clark, called "Metropolis" with just three movements, marked by creative interplay and tight coordination of parts. Lindsey-Clark also contributes the longest single piece on the recording, "The Puppeteer," at almost 8 minutes long, which begins fast, then slows, then transitions through a more frenetic section before resolving. The final track is also by Roland Chadwick, "The Memory of Water," which reveals more complexity and varying influences on these three talented musicians. If you want to hear some great guitar music by three players at the top of their game – as composers and as guitarists – then go out and get At the Rococo Cafe. © Kirk Albrecht

Richard Osborn "Endless" 2017 Richard Osborn's influence and pedigree have been documented well since his reemergence in 2012 with album Giving Voice: Guitar Explorations and then Freehand released in 2015. He was also included on the 2015 Tompkins Square compilation Beyond Berkeley Guitar. Osborn remains true to what he has referred to as raga style on Endless. That Indian coloring, much like a garment that is dyed with dark, rich earth tone colors, is so very present in the sonic tonality of Osborn's playing whether he is arranging or composing. From the opening arrangement of Albert Ketèlbey's "In a Monastery Garden," with its classical temperament and a slow, sweet melody playfully intertwined with arpeggios to the spacious and improvisational feel of the eight minute raga "The Open Road," complete with tender tabla percussion, Endless is a journey that will leave you refreshed and energized. Even his vocal work on English folk song "Still I Will Be Merry" enchants. Perhaps Osborn's greatest gift artistically is to transport the listeners beyond themselves to a place where music is the essence of existence. © James Filkins

Jerry Kosak "Yosarian's Dream" 2017 Jerry Kozak's solo guitar playing is aggressive and virtuosic. Several of his original pieces employ elements of minimalism - repetition and subtle variations of melodic motifs - which he uses effectively. That said, he's not defined by New Ageism, as the pieces on Yosarian's Dream vary in terms of compositional approach and tonal characteristics of the different guitars he plays. "Joined At The Hip" is a fine example, including key changes (which Kozak sometimes facilitates by retuning during the piece), melodies played across fretted and open strings interspersed with harmonics, and right-handed fingering of bass notes while hammering out lines on the treble strings. Listening to the bluesy "That's Phat," I'm reminded of Laurence Juber's early solo work. "Portable Fruit" might well have germinated from John D. Loudermilk's "Windy and Warm." The vibrant "A Year From Now," led me to his YouTube channel for visuals. Not surprisingly, he plays the tune effortlessly, although the audio quality on the CD is superior. "One Long Breath," an enjoyable slower tune, adds variety to the set. Everything on Yosarian's Dream is well-crafted and listenable, which leads me to look forward to more solo work from Kozak. © Patrick Ragains

Jack Gates "Bring the Flavors" 2017 Guitarist Jack Gates favors the nylon-string acoustic guitar, but the "flavors" of the title come from all over the world. The title tune has a flamenco flavor: Gates plays two nylon-string parts via overdubbing--common to most of the arrangements--joined by drummer/percussionist Steve Robertson and bassist Stan Poplin. The sound recalls Ralph Towner, but with less improvisational feel. Brazilian influence is prominent, with the melodic and rhythmic lilt of the samba: "Cloud Forest" and "Marketplace" are especially striking tunes. "Seraphic Journey," the longest track, takes its time building to a joyous samba with electric guitar in the lead. "Electric Sonata" again features electric guitar, reminiscent of Pat Metheny. Closer "Liquid Entropy" uses two electric guitars to explore Indian raga sounds. Guests Damien Masterson (harmonica) and Michal Palzewicz (cello) add variety on a few tracks. © Mark Sullivan

Search the Minor 7th Archives!

Home | Facebook | Podcast | Links | Archives | Submissions | Free CD Giveaway | Subscribe | About