Houston native jazz guitarist Josh Sheiman, a composer, arranger and educator, records his first solo-guitar album on Solo Sessions Vol. 1, a production of primarily familiar jazz standards presented in another light through new and crisp arrangements which make some of these old songs sound fresh and vibrant. Deciding to do this project in March 2020 was, in a sense, a reaction to the pandemic health crisis facing the USA, the cancelation of all concerts and the fear the virus could touch his own family. In addition, it was also the fulfillment of a long-held wish to produce a solo guitar album.
Sheiman practised, recorded and mixed all of the tracks for this album within the confine of his own small study at home. reminding himself of the tiny practice rooms in college while studying as an undergraduate. Little did he know then that his university experience would prepare him for the rigors of producing and recording in a limited space.
The oft-recorded Eden Ahbez classic "Nature Boy" sounds almost Flamenco-like, although the melody is quite intact and becomes one of the album's highlights. It is followed by the beautiful warm and harmonic treatment of Hoagy Carmichael's immortal standard "The Nearness of You." The guitarist delivers another Carmichael song "Georgia On My Mind," in the same graceful fashion he plucked the strings on the previous song.
Digging deeper into the standards, Sheiman draws on Isham Jones's "There is no Greater Love" for another exquisite rendition as gentle and light as his arrangement of Harry Warren's beloved "There Will Never Be Another You" played like a virtuoso.
The wonder of this first solo session of time-honored standards, concludes with the guitarist's original "Silent Song," a composition reflective of the times in which he recorded this project, which is why the music is a bit down-tempo yet reveals a range of contemporary elements throughout.
Guitarist Josh Sheiman has laid down an impressive and beautiful set of music on Solo Sessions Vol.1, an elegant piece of work designed to tug at the heart and reach into the soul with light chords and a soft sound which everyone needs to hear and feel once in a while.
Across the Universe; Nature Boy; The Nearness of You; Georgia On My Mind; There is No Greater Love; There Will Never
Be Another You; Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out; Silent Song.