Royce Campbell's warm interpretations of seven romantic jazz standards and two originals moves nice and slow, as the smooth edges from his guitar strings give his audience a natural timbre to soak up in time. Antony and Cleopatra must have enjoyed a similar experience, since Campbell's velvety-smooth guitar melodies sail gently as if on a warm ocean breeze. Of course, legendary characters from our literature didn't have the benefit of Bill Evans' "Waltz for Debby or Royce Campbell's "I Feel Like We Have Met Before to support them in their leisure time.
Previously issued as Royce Campbell With Strings (Chase, 1999), the album features a studio orchestra under the direction of Carroll DeCamp. His musical arrangements highlight numerous soloists on flute, violin, and French horn. Fred Hersch also provides lovely piano solo interludes and accompaniment.
Chording gracefully, Campbell opens "A Time for Love with soft melodic lines that lead to brief improvised refrains from piano and guitar. By letting the orchestra swell gradually, the piece breathes with a natural air. The walking bass and creative guitar improvisation of "I Concentrate on You would not have been present in Cleopatra's day, either. Campbell gives this one a lively rhythmic pace with gentle waves that infuse passion into the mix. Following a format of solos around the room and closing with drum fours, the piece carries mainstream jazz to the living room.
Campbell and Hersch carry on a swinging musical conversation through much of the session that brings about a relaxed attitude. The guitarist's seamless melodies and lyrical improvisation provide a romantic aura that lasts. Lovers can find happiness through this collection of guitar ballads.
Personnel: Royce Campbell: guitar; Fred Hersch: piano; Lynn Seaton: bass; Mark Wolfley: drums.