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by Mark Sullivan
Minnesota-based guitarist Steve Tibbetts has always gone his own way, crafting his albums in the recording studio with deliberate care. Many of those albums have featured his scorching electric-guitar playing, for example Exploded View (ECM, 1986) and the later A Man About a Horse (ECM, 2002). But beginning with his previous album, Natural Causes (ECM, 2010), he has concentrated on acoustic sounds. His main instrument here is a Martin 12-string guitar, but strung with double-course unison strings (in place of ...read more
by Rob Caldwell
It's a chilly, overcast afternoon in jny: Oslo, Norway in late October 1981. This close to the Arctic Circle, the days are already rapidly shortening with winter's approach, the sun beginning to disappear over the horizon by mid-afternoon. In a darkened studio, guitarist Steve Tibbetts, percussionist Marc Anderson, producer and ECM Records head Manfred Eicher, along with engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug have been sequestered for two days of a three day recording session. The team is intently laying down tracks ...read more
by Ian Patterson
Although guitarist/composer Steve Tibbetts and Marc Anderson have collaborated since the late 1970s--the percussionist has played on every one of Tibbetts ECM releases--this is their first duo recording since Northern Song (ECM, 1982). That album employed silence as a sideman, and although there is less outright pause on Natural Causes, the same soothing, meditative ambiance forms a natural bridge between the two works, separated by almost thirty years. Tibbetts layers and interweaves 12-string guitar, bouzouki and kalimba, with a bewitching ...read more
by Jeff Dayton-Johnson
First things first: this is a mellow record. A very mellow record. Not Ben Webster mellow, or Antonio Carlos Jobim mellow, or Morton Feldman mellow, but rather, a record of music depicting a kind of quietism: profoundly passive contemplation. And it's not clear that quietism is a direction all jazz fans will want to go.
Now the project is an interesting one, and there is no lack of skill or care in its execution. Guitarist Tibbetts plays his ...read more
by John Kelman
Alongside Stephan Micus, Steve Tibbetts occupies a somewhat rare position in ECM's roster of longstanding musical collaborators. Like the German composer/multi-instrumentalist, this Zen Guitarist" defies ECM's general rule of two days to record, one day to mix (with minimal editing and overdubbing); instead, Tibbetts has, with rare exception, recorded his music from a home base in St. Paul, Minneapolis--again like Micus, sometimes taking years between recordings and with minimal label intervention. Unlike Micus, however, who produces his albums in isolation, ...read more
by Javier AQ Ortiz
Quick and to the Point: Soothes and suits both emotion and reason'The oddly metered musical strands hailing from Central Asia, India and its adjoining regions are vital for jazz's lore and lure. Conjoined with music from the West, their enchanting, enthralling, and percussively melodic possibilities unwrap exotic gifts of expression and improvisation. Upon listening to its seamless integration of mesmerizing musical effects, A Man About a Horse comes forth as a recording with enveloping salutary qualities.'Lupra' ...read more
by Geoff Barber
Steve Tibbets has taken an approach on A Man About a Horse that brings his open-minded view of improvised music together with an urgency of personal expression. I found Tibbets' mix of world music and jazz very exciting and interesting. A Man About A Horse gradually unfolded from my speakers and entranced me. On first listen, it sounded like Kid A era Radiohead filtered through a Far East sense of percussion. Tibbetts seems as though he wants to take the ...read more