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William Flynn/Tim Fischer: Cross Country

Don Phipps By

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Like a couple of old friends traveling through memories, thoughts and ideas, guitarists William Flynn and Tim Fischer have fashioned their album Cross Country as a conversation of grace and beauty. Flynn, a professor of Jazz Guitar at Wichita (KS) State University, and Fischer, a professor of music at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina's Coastal Carolina University offer up an album of blues-bop originals, each wonderfully arranged so that the two guitarists can stretch the melody while providing tuneful, sensitive and well-timed accompaniment. The result is music that is at once creative, sunny, and filled with charm.

The album opens with Fischer's "Dawn," a composition that gives the guitarists room to demonstrate their craft. Cool and bluesy guitar phrases by both men are well-articulated along jaunty but not jagged riffs. The piece is followed by Flynn's "Wildacres," which, along with its bossa nova rhythms, skates along in happy fashion like the start to an enjoyable road trip.

Flynn's "Rose Creek" has the feel of sunset—there's a melancholy attached to its sweetness. While Fischer's playing is more tuneful on this piece, Flynn approaches abstraction with his adroit use of chordal structure.

Fischer's "Prince's Waltz" works a ¾ signature and highlights the guitarists' collaborative approach to controlled melody and harmony. While there's a hint of the tender melody of the Disney/Miles Davis's classic "Someday My Prince Will Come," the guitarists survey a range of harmonic interventions around the song's melody.

As the name suggests, Flynn's "Stargazing" is a sweeping composition that offers up the splendor of the night sky in song. The piece meanders playfully along, like constellations slowly moving over the black canopy of a starless evening.

Fischer's "Winter Ballad" hints at a special cold evening—you know the one: a glass of Merlot, a crackling fireplace, large fuzzy sweaters, warm slippers, and romance. The pace is languid, sensual, and as unhurried as any ode to love should be.

Fischer offers up another lively piece, "Anacapa," that suggests sailing with the wind at your back, feeling the spray of the surf splash up as the bow hits the waves. There is much energy in this piece.

The album winds down with Flynn's "Homecoming," a composition that protrays returning to a special place. The tune's welcoming arms embrace the listener with gentle swing and blues chords.

Like Johnny Smith and Jim Hall before them, these two masters handle their solo work with aplomb. Masterfully written and performed, Flynn and Fischer beckon you to go Cross Country with them. Enjoy the trip....

Track Listing: Dawn; Wildacres; Rose Creek; Prince’s Waltz; Stargazing; Winter Ballad; Anacapa; Homecoming.

Personnel: William Flynn: guitar; Tim Fischer: guitar.

Title: Cross Country | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: ARC - Artists Recording Collective

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