It's rare for three guitarists of this caliber to be assembled for a recording date. John Abercrombie claimed that he hadn't touched his acoustic guitar for three years prior to receiving an invitation to make this recording, though he was obviously ready when the tape rolled. Larry Coryell has made a number of acoustic recordings prior to this disc. Badi Assad's three previous CDs for Chesky have all merited high praise.
Assad contributed five compositions to the session, though the stunning opener, "Seu Jorge e Dona Ica," is hard to beat. She initially accompanies her fellow guitarists on a percussive instrument called a kalimba, which sounds like it originates from Africa. This six-minute work has several distinctive sections, including a bit of her mouth percussion. Her "After the Rain" showcases the intricate interplay between the three guitarists. The moody, march-like "Metamorphosis" also proves compelling, while her switch to copper flute with an interspersing vocal transforms the piece into borderline avant-garde.
Assad's body percussion introduces Abercrombie's challenging "Descending Grace," a piece full of surprising twists. His "Ralph's Piano Waltz" is every bit as difficult, but the players seem to tackle it effortlessly.
Coryell also brought several of his pieces to the sessions. "New Lute Prelude" was inspired by the late Brazilian guitarist Laurindo Almeida, it serves as a brief introduction to the much more laid-back "New Lute Interlude." He also composed two duets to play with Assad. The wild "No Flight Tonight" features her vocals and incredible mouth and body percussion as the sole accompaniment for Coryell. They also walk a musical tightrope together in his "Exercise in Fourths" without any slips. Highly recommended.