This crossover recital, recorded live in Dublin, Ireland, seems tailor-made for the vague world music flavorings many classical concert series are taking on these days in an attempt to broaden their audiences. The music will be attractive even for those not thrilled by this trend, and if you're on the fence about it you couldn't do better than to try out this disc as a test case to help you make up your mind. Classical John Williams teams with jazz player John Etheridge (who formerly worked with Stéphane Grappelli) for a varied set of music that encompasses original compositions by both players along with works by popular songwriters and classical guitar composers. Some ethnic flavors are African; they players both adapt Malian kora music (Malinke Guitars, track 12) and create original music that draws on the complex Malian style (Djandjon, track 17). Williams contributes several pieces that start out as J.S. Bach compositions but segue into improvised material. There is a substantial jazz version of God Bless the Child and various pieces coming from a Portuguese-Brazilian nexus. The arrangements are quite complex, and the ensemble work is very exciting; the Dublin audience picks up on an electricity in the room. The most impressive feature of the playing of Williams and Etheridge is their ability to get different sounds out of their guitars to match the repertoire. This album is, in short, much more than just a quick nod in the direction of exotic traditions; it is an entirely original concept that will appeal to any player in either the classical or jazz fields. The live sound is unusually good, with even small details saved from the rustle of background noise. Bravo!
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Extra Time, for 2 guitars|
|Peace, Love and Guitars for 2 guitars|