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Nobuki Takamen: Solo Guitar

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Nobuki Takamen: Solo Guitar
Jazz guitarist Nobuki Takamen plays like someone with nothing to prove as he takes on that most difficult challenge: a truly solo jazz recording, with no overdubbing or electronics. His playing throughout is confident and mature, with no extraneous display. Which is not to say that his technique is lacking: the opener "Someday" effortlessly goes from polyphonic lines to cascading harp harmonics (the technique originated by the late Lenny Breau, frequently associated with players like Chet Atkins and Larry Coryell).

Japanese-born but now active in New York, Takamen's four previous releases have all been group projects: Bull's Blues (What's New Records, 2006); FROM NOW ON (What's New Records, 2008); Live at the Iridium (Summit Records, 2010); and Three Wishes (Summit Records, 2012). He has been playing solo frequently since his solo concert at the Montreal International Jazz Festival as part of 100% Guitare in 2009, so quite a bit of playing experience went in to this recording, and it shows.

The material is all original, but it fits comfortably with the standard repertoire of mainstream jazz guitar. The blues slot is filled by "Blues for Riley," a tune reminiscent of "Willow Weep For Me;" the closing "Wonderful Days" is a lovely contemporary ballad in the style of Pat Metheny ("Smile" seems to have a similar inspiration). "For The Stranger" takes the role of a traditional ballad, while "All Waltz" is a jazz waltz which sounds inspired by "All The Things You Are" (rather than "All Blues," as the title initially suggested) . Takamen plays chord-melody style through most of the program, but "From Now On" demonstrates his ability to supply a walking bass line when he wants to.

If there is a criticism, it's only that the program lacks a real up-tempo burner for contrast. What is here is totally enjoyable music, and a truly exceptional solo guitar debut from Nobuki Takamen. He's a jazz guitarist to watch.

Track Listing

Someday; I'll Remember Cedar; Blues for Riley; For the Stranger; Lullaby Without Words; All Waltz; Mr. Wyble; Smile; From Now On; Night Song; Wonderful Days.

Personnel

Nobuki Takamen: guitar.

Album information

Title: Solo Guitar | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Self Produced


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February 2015

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