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This is another restful and pleasant album of guitar-based jazz and classical-influenced new age music from Friedemann Witecka. His previous album, Indian Summer, was well received and highly regarded by both new age and jazz fans, and this one has met with much the same reception. Like Indian Summer, the music is performed by an ensemble that mixes live players and computer-based instrumentation, with the computer performances being limited to some of the percussion arrangements (enhancing the work of a live percussionist on some tracks) and keyboard voices that complement the music but can't be achieved via traditional means.

The album, therefore, is very precise, with a gentle warmth to it rather than a fiery passion. In terms of the music itself, this works very well indeed -- this is music that will as often as not work to set or enhance a mood of meditation and thoughtfulness, doing so without falling prey to either sweetness or shallowness.

As for Friedemann's own performances ... this isn't an album of guitar pyrotechnics, per se. Friedemann takes center stage when required by the music, but the music as often as not doesn't require his playing to be overwhelming. "Wednesday's Intermezzo," for example, sees the guitar tracks in an accompanying role, there but not grabbing the attention away from the melodic structures and counterpoints being performed by the wind players.

One bonus for those who bought the Narada Christmas Album is the presence of "The Man From Caesaria" (with a note in the sleeve as to its origin in the Greek traditional piece, "Agios Vasilis"), served up here in a new arrangement that's slower and more thoughtful and may surprise fans of his earlier version.

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