Charles Chapman: Come Sunset (2002)
Guitarist Charles Chapman has been teaching at the Berklee College of Music since 1972. Over that time he has published more than 400 articles and had eight guitar books. Now, at the age of 52, he has taken the big step, coming out of the teaching and writing closet and going with his first solo CD, although not all the cuts are entirely solo. Chapman has colleagues join him from time to time. And the only question is, "why did he wait so long". On this album, Chapman uses four different guitars and the difference in their sound and harmonics is evident with each piece he plays. On "Cm Etude" his 1998 Guild Savoy axe gives off a pure, celestial sound which allows one to hear each note with sublime clarity. A similar feel is obtained on the corollary to this tune "Am Etude" where he uses the same instrument. Picking up the pace with "It Had to Be You", Chapman plays a 1955 Guild Savoy getting a higher charged reverberation that reminded me a bit of Les Paul playing slower than he was wont to do. On this cut, Chapman is joined by bassist Rich Appleman as they engage in some very engrossing improvisational give and take. Regardless of which guitar he has in his hands, Chapman is clearly comfortable with any one of them which must make him a terrific teacher. Especially bewitching is a lilting, strutting Chapman original "Duffy's Walk" where Appleman once more joins in. This and other tracks make it clear that Chapman is more interested in exploring the intricacies and prospects of the instrument than in just making a commercial statement.
But more than anything in making this CD attractive is the choice of notes and lines Chapman follows during this session. It appears to reflect the wisdom that he obviously has accumulated over the 30 years of teaching and leading his students through the intricacies of the guitar. This is a good set of music and is recommended.
Track Listing: Harbor Haze; What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life; Frer
Personnel: Charles Chapman - Guitars; Rich Appleman, Jesse Williams - Bass; Paula Zeitlin - Violin' Mark Small - Guitar