Ralph Towner

Diary

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This 1974 album was given a well-deserved boost when ECM reissued it in 2001. It's a solo performance with a twist: Towner plays not only 12-string and classical guitars, but also very competent piano. Only "Entry in a Diary" and "Mon Enfant" are unaccompanied guitar solos; the latter, a traditional melody, is also the sole non-original. On four of the remaining six tracks, Towner accompanies himself via overdubs, playing both guitar and piano for an effect vaguely reminiscent of Bill Evans' Conversations With Myself. The best of these is "Icarus," one of Towner's best-known compositions, which also appeared on Matchbook, his 1976 duo album with Gary Burton. The guitarist's most unusual moves include playing a set of gongs behind his sparse 12-string work on "Images Unseen," and using his guitar entirely as a percussion instrument to create a propulsive rhythm track for "Erg." He closes with a tuneful solo piano piece titled "The Silence of a Candle." The reissue of Diary was timed to coincide with Towner's 2001 solo outing, Anthem.

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