The inventor of the seven-string guitar (which he called a "lap piano"), George Van Eps always kept the melody in mind and was able to play a theme, its harmonies, and a bassline simultaneously in an unhurried and relaxed style while creating the most beautiful chords in the world. The son of the pioneering banjoist Fred Van Eps, he was a significant musician starting in the early '30s and spent much of his life playing in the studios. The guitarist appeared on many jazz recordings along the way, but other than four titles in 1949, his recorded debut as a leader did not take place until he headed an album for Columbia in 1956. Late in life Van Eps made three sets for Concord that he co-led with fellow guitarist Howard Alden, but otherwise most of his legacy as a leader can be heard on a trio of records cut for Capitol in the mid-'60s, including Soliloquy. It was Van Eps' only full-length album of unaccompanied solos. It is surprising that there were not many more similar sessions, but fortunately this set is pretty definitive. Van Eps sounds wonderful whether playing swing standards (such as "Dancing in the Dark" and "The Blue Room"), then-current pop tunes ("By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "This Guy's in Love With You"), or one of his three originals. The dozen performances are all pretty concise, but Van Eps was a master at conveying a full message in a brief period of time. The charm, beauty, and light swing that could always be found in his solos are very much present on this delightful set.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow