William Kanengiser is a highly-respected guitarist, arranger, and founding member of The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, which has produced ten CDs, including the Grammy-nominated Lagq Latin. This is Kanengiser's third solo CD and his first explicit foray into jazz. It reconfirms that immaculate classical chops are no barrier to swing, especially when accompanied by depth of feeling and impeccable timing.
Kanengiser's technique, sensitivity, and dynamics are superb, and he has chosen exceptional material; most of it written by other guitarists. There's also Gene Bertoncini's ethereal arrangement of "My Funny Valentine," a rocking chorus of "They Can't Take That Away From Me," and a masterful "All the Things You Are," which showcases Kanengiser's stunning talent for integrating melody with complex basslines. The four "Jazz Etudes" by Matt Dunne are also terrific, as is the intricate "Jack-Leg": the only piece written by a pianist (John Harmon) on this album and not a guitarist. The witty highlight is Dusan Bogdanovic's "Book of the Unknown Standards," and gentle spoofs like "Monk-a-ning," "Twelve-Note Samba," and "Steps to Hell and Back," as well as the very beautiful, Bill Evans-like "Esmeralda's Waltz". Bogdanovic also wrote the gorgeous closer, "Lento." All told, Classical Cool offers that rare
combination of spirited, yet soothing music: well-paced, varied, and full of artistry and warmth; it blurs the arbitrary lines between classical and jazz. Highly recommended.