Thursday, September 3, 2009

John Stowell: Solitary Tales

Origin Arts
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 9.3.09
Buy CD: Solitary Tales

Guitarist John Stowell lives and works in and around Portland, Ore. He may not be well known to the general public, but he's a “musician's musician” to name guitarists and those who know the music world well. Stowell also is a famous clinician who conducts classes throughout the United States and Canada.

This solo guitar album is his newest release on Origin; it's a true gem for those who enjoy the instrument.

As it happens, Mike Doolin, one of the country's foremost luthiers — an individual who designs and builds string instruments — also lives in Portland. One of the guitars Stowell utilizes in this release is a nylon acoustic/electric instrument done by Doolin. Stowell also used another electric instrument, tuned a major third lower, that was designed by Jim Soloway; both deliver gorgeous tones.

Another plus for this session: It was recorded at Doolin's home, not at a studio. That location, and the recording set-up, provided exceptional acoustics; you can hear the selection and movement of Stowell's fingers over the strings. It's as if you're sitting in the room with the artist, and he's playing just for you.

The tunes include six Stowell originals, a couple of standards and one each from modern jazz composers Bill Evans and Ornette Coleman. All are done beautifully.

No comments: