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Melodies/Improvisations, guitarist Dan Lambert's third release, features solo acoustic guitar improvisations built around folksy, organic themes. Unlike his overdubbed material, this record reveals a more spontaneous feel. At times reminiscent of Ralph Towner (eg. the beginning of "Baysbrown"), at others suggestive of John Fahey (eg. "In the Shade by the River"), Lambert has developed a distinctive style fusing elements of folk and jazz idioms. Melodies offers relatively few pauses: the guitarist constantly progresses toward new developments, which take the form of arpeggiated chords, ringing single-note melodies, consonant strumming, or some combination of the aboveoften with repeated pedal points.
Despite the segmental advance of new ideas, many of which hint at being somewhat pre-arranged in nature, Lambert avoids harmonic complexity. A lot of the material on Melodies barely implies major or minor tonality; fifths and ninths are more the rule than sevenths. Octaves pop up everywhere, reinforcing the resonant sound the guitarist pursues to the exclusion of emotional tension. Melodies is a laid back record, with little pretense or suggestion. Not that Lambert's technical prowess is anything but superlative; it's just that he uses it to pursue consonance to the exclusion of dissonance. Listeners coming towards jazz from a folk perspective may find this record quite satisfying.
Track Listing: October Rhythm; Harbinger; Baysbrown; To Donny; A Life's Dream; Design; Secret of the Secret; In the Shade by the River; All Legs; Theme for an Imaginary Talk Show; Pirates in West Texas; Please Remember Me; Grasslands; McDonalds on Beale Street; Song Within a Song.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.