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Royce Campbell: Solo Trane

Read "Solo Trane" reviewed by Jack Huntley

There are some albums which, on the very first listening, create an immediate auditory union with the musician. Credit ability, musicality, interpretation, song choice, or a blending of each, Royce Campbell's solo guitar tribute to the music of John Coltrane, Solo Trane, is one of those albums. It crackles with energy and creative force as Campbell winds his way through the Coltrane book, adding evocative originals along the way. Campbell, a Washington D.C.-based veteran guitarist whose albums are always musically ...

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Royce Campbell: The Art of Chord Solo Guitar

Read "The Art of Chord Solo Guitar" reviewed by John Patten

Royce Campbell's The Art of Chord Solo Guitar extends his considerable collection of solo guitar releases, this time working on a series of standard tunes.

Campbell's extensive résumé includes stints with everyone from Marvin Gaye and Eddie Harris to Henry Mancini, and it's clear he's used his professional time to gain the skills necessary to create interesting and fresh arrangements on these tunes. Harmonizing such pearls as “In a Sentimental Mood" or “The Girl from Ipanema" requires an ...

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Royce Campbell: Get Happy

Read "Get Happy" reviewed by Jim Santella

Guitarist Royce Campbell collected songs with happy themes for this trio recording. Featuring violinist Joe Kennedy (1923-2004), the session swings in the mood intended, with an acoustic timbre and an open resonance to match. String jazz gets too little attention; yet, the violin has been with jazz since its inception. Guitar and double-bass remain integral elements of the jazz mainstream today, but violin has been removed far away to its peripheral edges.

One of the first violinists to ...

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Royce Campbell: Elegy to a Friend

Read "Elegy to a Friend" reviewed by Jim Santella

A versatile guitarist, Royce Campbell is equally at home with straight-ahead jazz and pure blues. When he got this group of Indianapolis jazz artists together in September 1990, it was to explore a different region altogether: jazz's modern mainstream. This allowed the quartet to explore, through original compositions, the more creative aspects of their music. Each musician stretches out considerably, and when they come together, it's with imaginative musical statements. Everybody solos prolifically.

The drummer for this session, ...

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Royce Campbell: Gypsy Soul

Read "Gypsy Soul" reviewed by Jim Santella

In a program of originals that recalls the spirit of Django Reinhardt, the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, and other masters of early acoustic swing, guitarist Royce Campbell turns to the heartfelt spirit that feeds our soul.

Born in Indiana, Campbell issued his first recording in 1983. As Henry Mancini's guitarist, he toured and became acquainted with many aspects of songwriting. His work has always remained fresh and original. Campbell's discography, which includes tributes to Wes ...

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Royce Campbell: Royce Campbell Plays for Lovers

Read "Royce Campbell Plays for Lovers" reviewed by Jim Santella

Royce Campbell's warm interpretations of seven romantic jazz standards and two originals moves nice and slow, as the smooth edges from his guitar strings give his audience a natural timbre to soak up in time. Antony and Cleopatra must have enjoyed a similar experience, since Campbell's velvety-smooth guitar melodies sail gently as if on a warm ocean breeze. Of course, legendary characters from our literature didn't have the benefit of Bill Evans' “Waltz for Debby or Royce Campbell's “I Feel ...

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Royce Campbell: Plays For Lovers

Read "Plays For Lovers" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone

Guitarist Royce Campbell is a talented jazz player and composer whose accomplishments include organizing a series of Wes Montgomery tribute albums during the first half of the 1990s, as well as his own many recordings, which include last year's Six By Six, which paired Campbell in duet with guitarists John Abercrombie, Larry Coryell, Pat Martino, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Dave Stryker.

This album is clearly a mood jazz work with a heavy dependence upon string arrangements. All but two ...

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Royce Campbell: A Jazz Guitar Christmas

Read "A Jazz Guitar Christmas" reviewed by Jim Santella

With his warm and sincere holiday greeting, guitarist Royce Campbell combines mainstream jazz with the Christmas tradition. His wealth of experience has taught him to treasure these holiday songs. Nineteen years as Henry Mancini's guitarist, plus numerous tours with singers Mel Tormé, Cleo Laine, Perry Como, and Marvin Gaye, have given Campbell an appreciation for the deep meaning that these songs convey year after year. The acoustic timbres of his trio allow the music to flow naturally.

With ...

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Royce Campbell: Six By Six

Read "Six By Six" reviewed by John Kelman

For some reason, the guitar is one of those instruments that engender competition. While there are exceptions, in general if you put two guitarists together, what you'll get is a contest to see who can be louder, who can be faster, who can be more dominant. So, when you get an album where a relative unknown teams up with five more visible players, it's not unreasonable to expect something of a whizzing contest.

Fortunately, while there's plenty of good-spirited jousting ...

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Royce Campbell: Six By Six

Read "Six By Six" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone

During the first half of the 1990s, guitarist Royce Campbell produced a series of tribute albums to Wes Montgomery. These sessions appeared on Campbell's own Paddlewheel Records, which was a subsidiary of the Japanese King label. They were released in the United States on Evidence. At that time, Royce Campbell was approached regarding a new project that would team the guitarist with five leading jazz plectrists of his choice. The resulting album, 6 X 6, featuring Campbell in performance with ...

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Royce Campbell feat. Gene Bertoncini: A Tribute to Charlie Byrd

Read "A Tribute to Charlie Byrd" reviewed by Matt Merewitz

Sharing a rare commitment to the mastery of their instrument, jazz guitarists have a strong bond to an axe which – despite huge popularity in other genres – has by and large, seemed to elude jazz throughout the music’s history. When thinking of true non-crossover jazz guitarists, only a handful come to mind: Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, Freddie Green (only in terms of longevity, not originality), and Grant Green. George Benson’s roots were in straight-ahead but he eventually ...

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Royce Campbell: A Tribute to Charlie Byrd

Read "A Tribute to Charlie Byrd" reviewed by Matt Merewitz

Jazz guitarists have a strong bond since they share a rare commitment to the mastery of the instrument’s place within that context (as opposed to other “more popular" styles). In a century when guitar became the most widely heard and played instrument--in non-jazz settings--jazz guitarists’ dedication to their trade is admirable because they represent a handful of instrumentalists who dare to delve head-on into the jazz idiom. If you think about it, only a handful of guitarists can truly be ...