Jazz guitarist Wayne Brasel was born and bred in California, and while currently living in Europewhere he teaches at the University of Stavanger in Norwaythe west coast rhythms that tug his heart strings are alive and well in If You Would Dance,
a collection of warm and inviting original compositions of relaxing light jazz. Except for the beautiful acoustic work on the soft and lovely "Oleo De Mujer Con Sombrero," and the finale piece "The Hermit," Brasel prefers the electric guitar as his chosen voice.
"Celebration" stands alone as the highlight of the album, featuring stalwart drummer Peter Erskine
providing a charge and pianist Alan Pasqua
delivering an energetic solo. The majority of the music, however, remains tethered to calm musical landscape from which the guitarist rarely strays. The tunes "Aberdeen," "If You Would Dance," and "A Heart On Fire" all possess the same sensitive qualities defining the album. The band enters gently on "Elias" as Brasel leads the music with sharp crisp chords that give way to more of Pasqua's handiwork on the keys in a piece that is barely six minutes in duration, though the album track listing mistakenly claims the tune at 9:16 in length.
"Lightgiver" is the opening track and its soft texture sets the stage for the rest of the program while the following "The Oaks of Mamre" takes flight propelled by the guitarist's floating lines gliding on Erskine's splashes and the pianist's firm phrasings. A simple disc of warm and gentle music more appropriate for a slow dance than swing, If You Would Dance is food for the soul served by a master chef, guitarist Wayne Brasel.
Personnel: Wayne Brasel: guitars; Alan Pasqua: piano; Tom Warrington: bass; Peter Erskine: drums; Satnam Ramgotra: percussion.