This is Rainer's most accessible work, and it was recorded in the stretch of a few weeks during October of 1997, during which Rainer had stopped all treatment on a brain tumor that was to take his life in November. He knew he was dying and he was both ready and accepting of that inevitability, which he faced with the same love and acceptance that he showed whenever he played. He knew this was the work he must finish before he left the world for the next adventure he was to face, and he played with an inspired abandonment. It took five years to bring this disc to fruition. Rainer is playing at times solo and on most of the disc with his longtime former rhythm section of Ralph Gilmore on drums and Nick Augustine on bass. His resonating guitar playing is as sharp and furious as it has ever been, as if he is possessed by all the memories of things he has stored away that he has little time to get out. His modal explorations in and on blues themes take listeners to celestial areas. His slide on his guitars seems guided by an outside hand that adds an additional fury to his playing and takes his playing to new places outside of himself. His gift to those he would leave behind would display his emotions and wit so that everyone could share it. This disc stands as a loving tribute to a man who gave so much, and in turn is given to listeners by Harvey Moltz and Howe Gelb with a sensitivity rarely found in the music business. That piled with his inviolable playing makes this a piece you don't want to miss.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Bob Gottlieb