Danny Heines

Aqua Touch

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Danny Heines' 1986 debut for Silver Wave finds the Colorado-based guitarist working well within the parameters of contemporary instrumentalism. However, he isn't swallowed up by the genre's tendency toward the bland, since he focuses his playing on some solid, largely unaccompanied acoustic work. With electric guitar leads so smooth they're almost formless, Aqua Touch's introductory title track suggests that the record might drift off into nothingness before it can even really begin. But Heines redeems himself with the gentle "September Snow" and "Dahlia's Dreams," two unaccompanied acoustic numbers that feature plenty of guitar player fireworks, but still retain their pristine, introspective feel. Heines loses his way a bit with the lighthearted modern jazz of "Otter Glide." While it's played solidly, it doesn't ultimately go anywhere since it lacks the emotion and earnestness inherent in Aqua Touch's more acoustic sections. The album does end relatively strong with the epic "Mountaintop." Led by the soaring breath of a flute, the song eventually adds violin to harmonize with the first instrument. At over seven minutes, it's easy to imagine the two instruments finding each other on the wind crying around the crags and plateaus of the song's titular massif. Overall, a solid debut from Heines that should appeal to fans of Bruce BecVar or Pat Metheny.

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