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Ontario-native Dan Kozar plays, for lack of a better description, a nylon-string classical guitar. This fact alone should alert you that you are in for a mellow time. On that score, Kozar does not disappoint, but at the same time, you should not expect a sleeper of a recording. Quite the contrary...
Borne in Weland, Dan Kozar was encouraged from an early age by his mandolinist father to learn to read and play music and this would aid him in achieving his goal as a musician. That turned out to be sound advice. Not only did Kozar study music, he studied it at the Eastman School of Music and took his studies seriously. I Remember You is his first recording. Kozar takes a slice out of the center of the American Songbook and presents it in a closely-miked recording environment that results in sumptuous, palpable sonics. The wound low stings reverberate with vibrant life while the smooth higher strings offer smooth, round tones. Sound-wise, all is perfect for this collection of ballads.
Mr. Kozar opens the disc with "All the Things You Are." His interpretation is reverent to the original melody and as such educates the listener of what Hammerstein and Kern were trying to accomplish before the bebop generation hoisted the piece up the flatted-fifth flagpole. It is always grand to understand the original musical intent before trying to appreciate the genius that eventually changes that intent. "Autumn Leaves" and "My Funny Valentine" employ Baroque voicings that add gravity to the pieces.
"All of Me" and "Deed I Do" are bouncing delights, played with vigor and apparent joy. Mr. Kozar is obviously enjoying himself. "Summertime" is given perhaps the most technically complex reading, with Mr. Kozar coaxing out the darker themes of the Gershwin piece. The disc ends with a rolling "Days of Wine and Roses," providing a perfect end to a recording best listened to with the lights low and someone special near.
Track Listing: All The Things You Are; Blue Moon; I Remember You; Autumn Leaves; My Funny Valentine; All Of Me; The Girl Form Ipanema; Stella By Starlight; Deed I Do; Summertime; Days Of Wine And Roses.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.