3

Nicolas Meier: From Istanbul To Ceuta With A Smile

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Nicolas Meier: From Istanbul To Ceuta With A Smile Long ago, when the world was younger and far more innocent, a British TV commercial challenged its viewers. Take a particular brand of fruit pastille (Rowntree's, to be specific), place it in the mouth, resist the temptation to chew. So deliciously fruity was the pastille that such resistance would be futile. A similar challenge might be initiated for From Istanbul To Ceuta With A Smile, from the Swiss-born, UK-based guitarist Nicolas Meier. Take the album, press Play, listen, resist the temptation to smile.

Meier is a man of eclectic taste—a heavy metal guitarist with 7even, a master of acoustic steel and nylon strung guitars and a lover of Turkish music, he's even a member of a jazz-classical-pop fusion band called Eclectica!. His love of Turkish music has led Meier to produce a series of albums—including Yuz (Naim Records, 2007) and Journey (MGP Records, 2010)—on which he's fused this music with jazz and other styles. From Istanbul To Ceuta With A Smile is filled with inspiration from Turkey, but also from Spain, Argentina, the Middle East and the United States, forged skilfully into Meier's original compositions.

The center of this music is Meier's beautiful playing: precise intonation, fluid single note lines and strong rhythmic grooves burst out of his instruments. The fast-paced "To Ceuta" features Meier at his most breathtakingly swift; on the elegiac "Memories (in the memory of Peter)" he's at his most melancholy and considered, a mood matched by Gilad Atzmon's clarinet and Patrick Bettison's harmonica; on "The Wind" his playing is at its most forceful, underpinned by powerhouse drums and percussion from Asaf Sirkis and Demi Garcia.

Meier may be at the album's heart, but he not alone. In fact, he's put together a larger-than-usual ensemble for this album, mostly musicians who have worked with him on previous projects. While Atzmon and Bettison make the biggest contributions—Bettison's bass playing is also exemplary—no player underperforms. Violinist Lizzie Ball and cellist Bernard Gregor-Smith (both members of Eclectica!) add striking harmonies to "The Gate." James Pearson—musical director at the legendary Ronnie Scott's Club in London's Soho—adds a classically-flavored piano solo to "The Lightness" and an eloquent, jazzy one to "To Ceuta."

Meier's desire to mix musics from across Europe and the Middle East shows no sign of abating. As From Istanbul To Ceuta With A Smile demonstrates, it shows no sign of becoming stale or repetitive either. Meier uses his extended group to expand his musical range with great success—and with a smile.


Track Listing: Opening; From Istanbul; With A Smile; To Ceuta; Memories (in the memory of Peter); The Gate; The Wind; The Lightness.

Personnel: Nicolas Meier: acoustic guitars, glissentar, baglama; Gilad Atzmon: soprano saxophone, clarinet; Pat Bettison: bass, harmonica; Lizzie Ball: violin; Bernard Gregor-Smith: cello; James Pearson: piano; Demi Garcia: percussion; Asaf Sirkis: drums.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: MGP Records


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Prairie Burn" CD/LP/Track Review Prairie Burn
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 9, 2016
Read "Back Where I Belong" CD/LP/Track Review Back Where I Belong
by James Nadal
Published: June 7, 2016
Read "Convallaria" CD/LP/Track Review Convallaria
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 22, 2016
Read "The Core Trio Live, featuring Matthew Shipp" CD/LP/Track Review The Core Trio Live, featuring Matthew Shipp
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2016
Read "Dobbeltgaeenger" CD/LP/Track Review Dobbeltgaeenger
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 12, 2016
Read "Up Go We" CD/LP/Track Review Up Go We
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 4, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!