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West coast guitarist Ron Berman has taken on the daunting task of an album devoted entirely to the music of a single composer played by unaccompanied guitar. Alan Broadbent is well known for his piano work, orchestrations and arrangements. He won a Grammy for his arranging work in 2000. But his work as a composer has not been given the same degree of exposure. Berman, whose instruction material for guitar has been published, does more than a credible job in this undertaking. Citing Broadbent as a major influence, this is Berman's way of paying tribute to a mentor.
The 11 selections (one's an alternate take) on the album run from tantalizing ballads like "Away from You" through medium tempo pieces such as "This One's for Bud", to faster paced tunes. None of the songs are assertive, rather they lean to the introspective and contained. Whatever the pace, Berman addresses each one with the same respect and admiration he has for their composer. His clean sounding guitar, without heavy chordal work, shows classical antecedents, much in the manner of Joe Pass. The good work and affinity for the music notwithstanding, this album will likely be limited to those who are devotees of the guitar and/or dedicated fans of Alan Broadbent. Perhaps for his next album, this fine guitarist will select a more varied program and in doing so, expand his listener base.
Track Listing: This One's for Bud; Better Days; Every Time I Think of You; Waiting for Charlie; Don't Ask Why; Song of Home; Another Time; The Long Goodbye; Ode to the Road; Away from You; Continuity; Away from You
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.