West coast guitarist Ron Berman has taken on the daunting task of an album devoted entirely to the music of a single composer played by unaccompanied guitar. Alan Broadbent is well known for his piano work, orchestrations and arrangements. He won a Grammy for his arranging work in 2000. But his work as a composer has not been given the same degree of exposure. Berman, whose instruction material for guitar has been published, does more than a credible job in this undertaking. Citing Broadbent as a major influence, this is Berman's way of paying tribute to a mentor.
The 11 selections (one's an alternate take) on the album run from tantalizing ballads like "Away from You" through medium tempo pieces such as "This One's for Bud", to faster paced tunes. None of the songs are assertive, rather they lean to the introspective and contained. Whatever the pace, Berman addresses each one with the same respect and admiration he has for their composer. His clean sounding guitar, without heavy chordal work, shows classical antecedents, much in the manner of Joe Pass. The good work and affinity for the music notwithstanding, this album will likely be limited to those who are devotees of the guitar and/or dedicated fans of Alan Broadbent. Perhaps for his next album, this fine guitarist will select a more varied program and in doing so, expand his listener base.