CD Time Line [Ralph Towner] (CD 867863), Audio Other
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Time Line [Ralph Towner]

  • 1. Pendant, for guitar, The
    2. Oleander Etude, for guitar
    3. Always By Your Side, for guitar
    4. Hollows, for guitar, The
    5. Anniversary Song, for guitar
    6. If, for guitar
    7. Glimpses (5), for guitar: 1.
    8. Glimpses (5), for guitar: 2.
    9. Glimpses (5), for guitar: 3.
    10. Glimpses (5), for guitar: 4.
    11. Glimpses (5), for guitar: 5.
    12. Lizards Of Eraclea, for guitar, The
    13. Turning Of The Leaves, for guitar
    14. Come rain or come shine, song (from the musical "St. Louis Woman")
    15. Freeze Frame, for guitar
    16. Porgy and Bess, opera: My Man's Gone Now
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 000631202

  • Credits
    ProducerManfred Eicher; Manfred Eicher
    EngineerMarkus Heiland

    Personnel: Ralph Towner (acoustic 12-string guitar, 12-string guitar, classical guitar).
    Recording information: Propstei St. Gerold, Austria (09/2005).
    Photographer: Paolo Soriani.
    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. ~ Thom Jurek

  • Critic Reviews
    JazzTimes (p.129) - "Like few musicians alive, let along guitarists, Towner manages to bridge the supposedly disparate worlds of jazz and classical music."
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