The Color of Sunshine

Lawrence Blatt

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The Color of Sunshine Review

by William Ruhlmann

Most albums do not list the names and accomplishments of their producers on their front covers, as does The Color of Sunshine by Lawrence Blatt. "Produced by Will Ackerman," it says, just under the artist name and album title, "Grammy winner and founder of Windham Hill Records." The not-so-subtle message is that anyone who loves the music of Ackerman, something of a gold standard in New Age guitarists dating back to the '70s, will also love Blatt's efforts, since they have been given Ackerman's imprimatur by his participation on the album. And there is some validity to that claim. Blatt, an accomplished fingerpicking guitarist, displays Ackerman's influence particularly on such tracks as "UV Radiations" and "White Light." The song titles are evidence of the organizing principle behind the album. Blatt, who has a Ph.D. in science, likes to bring his knowledge in other disciplines to bear in inspiring his music. His last album, Fibonacci's Dream, drew on mathematics, while this one relates the color spectrum to music, at least metaphorically. Of course, as with nearly all program music, the listener isn't likely to recognize the ideas the composer had in mind merely by hearing the results. No matter. When Blatt isn't calling the music of his producer to mind, he can take a livelier, almost rock-like turn, as he does on "Infrared: The Abyss" and especially "Black Rock Beach," the latter boasting slide guitar playing by rock veteran T-Bone Wolk. Also forceful, if more in a jazz vein, are "Jaune (Yellow)" and "Mar Azul," both of which find violinist Steve Schuch joisting with the guitarist in a manner that recalls the interplay of Django Reinhardt and St├ęphane Grappelli. Blatt also likes to play the ten-string South American instrument the charango, as he does on "Violet Blue," when it sounds a bit like a mandolin. All of this and more (including the use of a ukulele and some interesting tunings) make for lots of musical colors and moods in a consistently interesting set of instrumental acoustic music.

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