Ryan Mackstaller: Nice Day For A Swim (2002)
Ryan Mackstaller proves two things on Nice Day For A Swim : he has sound technique, and he can write a pretty good tune. The guitarist spins lines that fall nice and easy, with some octave runs adding bonus points to his ruminations. The mood here is largely mellow and laid back. He does open up a bit with the comparatively upbeat “So What”, and the Latin bounce of “No Bailamos” provides a balmy comfort. The latter is catchy and Mackstaller spins delightful circles of melodic improvisation.
On almost all the tracks, the drums are recorded upfront and vie with the guitar, a trait that proves distracting. The extended “So You’re Leaving” proves a welcome exception. The arrangement leaves room and scope for Kolton to have his say, digging in with passion in to the old world charm of the melody while Mackstaller expands his vocabulary, bending and stretching notes. The one non-original track is Dave Douglas’s “Sam Hill”, perfect room for Mackstaller to probe and then invent his own intricacies.
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Track Listing: Fellowship; No Bailamos; Back In Five Minutes; Nice Day For A Swim; Requiem For A Dream; Sam Hill; Say What?; So You
Personnel: Ryan Mackstaller