London-based Swiss guitarist Nicolas Meier (heard mainly on nylon string guitar here) leads his World Group quartet in a program of his compositions. The group is well named, as Meier takes inspiration from all over the world; Turkish music, Middle Eastern music, samba, flamenco and tango all mix with jazz in this sound.
"Besiktas Cafe" opens the set with a sprightly waltz, Meier executing the first of many technically difficult passages with a smile and a dance step. Bassist Kevin Glasgowwho was also heard on Our New Earth (Moonjune Records, 2019) by Sirkis/Bialis IQcontributes a lovely melodic (and very guitar-like) solo. "Manzanita Samba" is a lilting samba, with violinist Richard Jones coming out of an atmospheric bridge into a propulsive solo. The title tune is true to its name, a lovely gentle guitar melody with violin accompaniment, before both instruments play the theme together.
"Caravan Of Anatolia" features percussionist Demi Garcia's Middle Eastern hand drums, and Meir switches to fretless nylon string guitar for a sound more like an oud. The oud effect is even more pronounced on "Princes' Islands," where Meier plays the Godin Glissentar, an instrument which was designed to be an oud/guitar hybrid. "Water Lilies" goes into flamenco territory. The album closes with "Soho Square," a blues with an added bridge which is by far the least exotic tune here, but is played no less convincingly.
Meier composed a set of attractive pieces for Peaceful, full of strong melodies and diverse rhythms. Despite the eclectic range of stylistic influences, the program sounds cohesive, a tribute to the band's excellent musicianship. Meier is a brilliant guitarist, and is joined by three equally strong players. Percussionist Demi Garcia deserves special mention. While he takes no solos, his empathetic support and mastery of so many different styles are major factors in the album's success.
Besiktas Cafe; Manzanita Samba; Peaceful; Caravan Of Anatolia; Water Lilies; Princes' Islands; City Of The 3 Rivers; The Island; Soho Square.
Nicolas Meier: nylon fretted and fretless guitars, 12 string guitar, Glissentar; Richard Jones: violin; Kevin Glasgow: bass; Demi Garcia: percussion.