Ron Affif


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For 13 tracks (ten standards and three originals), Ron Affif plays some of the most beautiful solo guitar you will ever hear. He's on nylon six-string acoustic for four numbers, electric guitar for the rest. All feature his patient, measured tones, easygoing but stretching the parameters of many of these quite familiar themes. The best of his extrapolations comes on a Kenny Kirkland-inspired version of "Dolphin Dance," where bass and higher-pitched strings converse in a nice groove; the swinging "I Love You," where Affif extends the melody and embellishes on it; and the best swinger, "They Can't Take That Away from Me," where he expertly mixes single lines and chords in an almost dutiful manner. He wittily uses a half-speed approach to phrase "Honeysuckle Rose"; uses an admitted Joe Pass-ified style on "I've Never Been in Love Before"; and drenches "What Is This Thing Called Love?," "All the Things You Are," and "My Romance" with sheets of reverence and reserve. The originals "Mark" (for his older bro), "Charene," and "Holly" have similar qualities of virtue and understanding, the first a soulful ballad, the second a romantic piece as if Affif were a serenading gondolier, and the third a tender rendering for a long loved one. "Autumn in New York" and "But Beautiful" also are marked with an abstinence of freneticism, and nicely understated. If the world has not yet picked up on Affif's ability as a first-rate guitarist, this should do the trick, for the young at heart and the lover in all of us. Highly recommended.

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