Guitarist Andreas Hagiioannu is not content to merely play standards and regurgitate multiple styles of jazz guitar. No, he would rather compose in these various jazz idiomshe does so very well.
His chosen combo format is the classic trio where he is joined by bassist Dirk Griffin and drummer Alan Savage. Hagiioannu performs on both an acoustic guitar and a trusty arch top, with the trio and solo. The end result is a collection of songs bearing the influence of Kenny Burrell and an earthbound Leo Kottke.
The trio selections, such as "Monsieur Reynard, delve into the straight-ahead. "Persis the Beloved has a Latin tinge, mostly given away by Savage's fine drumming and cymbal work; Hagiioannu's arch top sound is round, nestled in reverb warmth. His phrasing is facile and not unlike that of the late Joe Pass, minus the Pass-Tatum arpeggios. The guitarist allows bassist Griffin to solo on his electric axeone of the best constructed solos on the record.
The title track follows this same road with an excellent swing in Griffin's walking bass.
But just when the listener believes this is to be but a pleasant mainstream jazz outing, Hagiioannu opts for solo guitar. On "Quinine, the guitarist finger-picks his arch top using harmonic progressions reminiscent of Fats Waller.
When Hagiioannu pulls out the acoustic he becomes rustic. On "For the Disappearing, he does a straight finger-picking gig right out of the Colorado highlands. "Newborn is much more in the vein of a Leo Kottke or John Fahey, though not as demanding of the listener.
This is pretty music. I suspect that I will not hear as satisfying a collection of guitar music this year as Far and Wide.
Track Listing: Monsieur Reynard; Persis the Beloved; Sundial; Far and Wide; Quinine; For the Disappearing; Strange Days; Look Both Ways; You Light the Way; Aventurine (Golden Ratio;) Martha; The Gambetta; Bluebird; Newborn; Hidden Track.
Personnel: Andreas Hagiioannu: guitar; Dirk Griffin: bass; Alan Savage: drums.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.