Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday Music Muse day - Johnny Smith, George Van Eps, Ralph Towner, Thelonious Monk.

This week's Sunday Music Muse Day, again finds us suffering cold, icy, weather in the what is supposed to be Spring.  Although our region seems to have been spared the ice storm predicted, it's still cold, grey and dreary.  The way to brighten the day is with some good music.  I started the morning with The Definitive Thelonious Monk on Prestige and Riverside, a 2 CD collection of Monk tracks from his albums on the those classic record labels.  I admit to coming late to Monk's catalog of music.  For me his name always conjures up visions of adventurous, and thoughtful music. The 18 page booklet contains tons of info, and reproductions of album covers.

As I settled into midday, I enjoy this CD of two legendary guitarists, Johnny Smith / George Van Eps Legends: Solo Guitar Performances.  This mellow and gentle CD glows with quiet fire and musical integrity.  Johnny Smith had a hit with Stan Getz in 1952 with "Moonlight in Vermont". His session on this CD was recorded in 1976.  George Van Eps lengthy career credits includes playing with Benny Goodman, and Frank Sinatra.  He is well known for his developing and using the 7-string guitar, which extended the low range. (I had trouble stringing a 6-string guitar, so playing 7-strings in out of the question for me). This is perfect background music for a winter day (in Spring) or a quiet gathering of friends.  Try it.

My last selection is Ralph Towner City of Eyes, which finds the adventurous guitarist displaying his multi-instrumental talent beyond his usual classical guitar with 12 string guitar, piano (actually his first instrument) and Synthesizer.  The group also includes Paul McCandless a band mate from Oregon, on Oboe and English horn.  A online review states "In essence, City of Eyes shows Ralph Towner as a musical explorer again, a composer and instrumentalist who can persuasively create aural travelogues through time, space, and terrain." I would agree and intend to enjoy the journey."

Eventually, spring will arrive, until then we have to use music to bring sunshine into our days. Enjoy.

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