In a world where musicians invent new genres daily, it was only a matter of time before someone combined classical music and the blues. Skilled fingerpickers, in fact, never lacked the skill to play classical guitar. And while many new age guitarists borrow bits and pieces from the classical repertoire, Dale Miller takes the concept a step or two further on Azzurro Verdi: Arias for Solo Blues Guitar. His first album in 25 years, Miller achieves a lovely outcome by combining his light touch with pieces by Mozart, Bizet, and others. While one might cringe at the thought of blues guitar tackling "Song to the Moon" or "Questa o Quella," Miller's arrangements remain respectful of the sources. He doesn't specialize in the dissonance of John Fahey nor the quirkiness of Leo Kottke. Instead, he seems resolved to bring out the splendor of these tunes by dressing them up in soft spring colors. Even when Miller plays slide guitar at the beginning of "Quanto Rapido" and on the original "Keep It Burin'," melodies take precedent over dissension. While it's difficult to know if Segovia would have approved of this project, he couldn't have argued with the results. With its distinctive blend of folk, classical, and new age guitar, Azzurro Verdi will intrigue guitar players and entertain adventurous classical music lovers.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.