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Time Line
     

Time Line

by Ralph Towner
 
It's hard to believe that it's been more than five years since Ralph Towner issued his last solo guitar album, or any album under his own name, for that matter. Anthem was issued in 2000. Time Line is a return to the stark, spacious and lyrical explorations of that set. That's not to say this is any kind of direct replica. Towner's a restless artist, he

Overview

It's hard to believe that it's been more than five years since Ralph Towner issued his last solo guitar album, or any album under his own name, for that matter. Anthem was issued in 2000. Time Line is a return to the stark, spacious and lyrical explorations of that set. That's not to say this is any kind of direct replica. Towner's a restless artist, he pushes his boundaries on the classical and 12-string guitars. The set contains 14 new compositions and two fine covers that provide the real reason for Towner's not-so-secret inspiration here: George Gershwin's "My Man's Gone Now," and Harold Arlen's "Come Rain or Come Shine." The muse, of course, is Bill Evans. Evans has been forever associated with the former tune since his 1961 trio performance of it at the Village Vanguard; the latter is a tune he played live fairly often in the '60s and even the '70s. Time Line is full of lively, even, bright textures and moods. Check out the languid beauty of "Turning of the Leaves" or the nearly singing "Always by Your Side," or the nearly Celtic folk aspects of "Anniversary Song," where he plays airs and rounds. The moodier and more melancholy side of his playing can be heard in the brief "Oleander Etude," or the tender, near flamenco single string playing in the 50-second section of "Five Glimpses/3." "Freeze Frame," the gorgeous 12-string exercise here, uses the instrument's droning quality to establish a harmonic resonance in spite of the legato playing he does on the higher strings. The set closes with the Gershwin tune, also played on the 12-string. His chromatic elegance and grace underscore the tune's nuances and subtleties even as he brings the lyric to the fore with extended chord voicings and embellishing the sonorities that echo the piano's more controlled tensions. In sum, this is a brief but utterly captivating issue from one of the music's great composers and theorists that should not be missed by anyone interested in Towner, of course, but also in melodic improvisation and composition.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/02/2006
Label:
Ecm Records
UPC:
0602498759110
catalogNumber:
000631202

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