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Magic Box
     

The Magic Box

4.5 2
by John Williams [guitar]
 
John Williams, the world's most renowned classical guitarist, has never been content to work within the bounds of Western classical music. Witness his pathbreaking jazz-fusion albums from the '70s or his recordings with Sky in the early '80s. In this sense, The Magic Box is classic Williams, but this time

Overview

John Williams, the world's most renowned classical guitarist, has never been content to work within the bounds of Western classical music. Witness his pathbreaking jazz-fusion albums from the '70s or his recordings with Sky in the early '80s. In this sense, The Magic Box is classic Williams, but this time around his muse is altogether different: The album is a paean to the music of Africa, a gorgeous collection of pieces by present-day composers -- Williams among them -- that draw on the rhythms and melodies of the continent's diverse musical cultures. There are dance styles from Cameroon and Zimbabwe, folk songs from Mali and Senegal, and rhythms from the Cape Verde Islands and Madagascar, among other sources. It wouldn't have happened without Francis Bebey, the guitar legend, author, and activist from Cameroon who was a close friend of Williams's. Sadly, he died in 2001, but he wrote 5 of the 15 pieces on the album (including the title track, which refers to an old wind-up record player) and also plays the sanza (a thumb piano) and sings. Other collaborators include Paul Clarvis on assorted percussion (including a fork and beer bottle!), John Etheridge on steel-string acoustic guitar (providing a nice complement to Williams's nylon-stringed instrument), Richard Harvey on various types of woodwinds, and Chris Lawrence on double bass. The African Children's Choir gets in on the act, too, in an arrangement of the African National Congress anthem. The music is nearly always cheerfully melodious, with pleasingly varied instrumentation -- ranging in size from solo to sextet -- and nimble, clean performances. It's a lovely and likable disc that's designed to relax, not raise the roof, and to open a window onto a world that classical musicians rarely behold.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/16/2002
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0696998948327
catalogNumber:
89483

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. O Bia
  2. Township Kwela
  3. Maki
  4. Engome
  5. Malinke Guitars
  6. Masanga
  7. Musha Musiki
  8. Mitopa
  9. Triangular Situations
  10. Guitar Makossa
  11. The Magic Box
  12. Omby
  13. Nikosi Sikelel'i Afrika
  14. Djandjon
  15. Sangara

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John Williams [guitar]   Primary Artist,Guitar
Francis Bebey   Vocals,Sanza,Guest Appearance,Group Member
Richard Harvey   Dulcimer,Bass,Clarinet,Flute,Accordion,Bass Clarinet,Bass Flute,Human Whistle,Whistle (Instrument),Zamponas,tiple,Indian Flute,Indian Harmonium
African Children's Choir   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
John Etheridge   Acoustic Guitar
Paul Kegg   Cello
Chris Laurence   Double Bass
Martin Loveday   Cello
Anthony Pleeth   Cello
Pete Whittaker   Balafon
John Williams   Guitar,Electric Guitar,Requinto
Paul Clarvis   Percussion,Bongos,Drums,Bottle,Tumba,Spoons,Zarb,Djembe,Finger Snapping,Hand Drums,Modular Moog
Paul Clarvia   Bottle
John Williams & the Tick Tocks   Guitar,Soloist,Requinto
Christopher Laurence   Double Bass

Technical Credits

John Williams [composer]   Producer
John Williams [guitar]   Producer
Jeff Foster   Engineering
John Williams   Arranger,Producer
Geoff Foster   Engineer
Roxanne Slimak   Art Direction
Jen Wyler   Engineer
Stéphane Briand   Engineer
Enoch Mankayi Sontonga   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Osi Audu   Cover Painting
John Williams & the Tick Tocks   Arranger,Producer
Jennifer Wyler   Engineer
Vasco Martins   Composer

Customer Reviews

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The Magic Box 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had the good fortune to see Williams in concert, playing this program. There is nothing better than watching someone who loves what they do. This joy is reflected in the recording.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy guitar, then I recommend purchasing this album. My personal favorite is Township Kwela and O Bia.