The Jazz Project December 2019


True North •••
Lawson Rollins, guitar

Guitarist Lawson Rollins is best known for crafting lush amalgams of contemporary jazz, world music, Latin and New Age. The resulting recordings have always possessed a grand sense of travel, exoticism and adventure. True North, his tenth solo album and the first one he has produced by himself, marks a difference in his approach. Working on a film score and writing music for other artists has refocused his approach to the mesmerizing nylon string guitar work for which he is so well known.

On the American Songwriter website he is quoted as saying, “ The past couple of years have really expanded my musical horizons through my work on film music and also the single, ‘And If You Will Come With Me’ by Israeli superstar singer Idan Raichel. Those experiences forced me to hone down my quite often exuberant nylon string guitar style to suit the needs of the particular projects and also to delve more seriously into other instruments like the electric guitar, synthesizers and electronic percussion programming. With ‘True North,’ I was able to bring that new knowledge and perspective back home, in a sense, to the type of nylon string guitar-centered music that has been my true calling as an artist over the past 20 years.”

Two fine examples that highlight the album’s music include “True North,” the title track, and “Bluewave Bossanova,” a sultry dance of textured world beat rhythms and an impassioned surge of guitar arpeggios, scales and harmonies. The performance also includes a sensitive soprano sax played by Mary Fettig. Mr. Rollins is accompanied by drummer and percussionist Dave Bryant, bassist Dan Feiszli, violinist Mads Tolling and Stephen Duros who plays additional keyboards and electric guitar on “With the Wind,” an eclectic and imaginative piece of music.

In defining his new album, he said that many of the tracks, such as the title track as well as ‘With the Wind’ and ‘Dead Ahead,’ are unlike anything he has ever done.

Remember Me, My Dear ••••
Jan Garbarek/Hillard Ensemble

Jan Garbarek: soprano and tenor saxophones
The Hilliard Ensemble: David James: countertenor

Rogers Covey-Crump: tenor
Steven Harrold: tenor; Gordon Jo nes: baritone

The release of Officium, the groundbreaking alliance of Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek and the world-famous English a cappella quartet, The Hilliard Ensemble, 25 years ago was a paradigm shift for contemporary jazz. The music was like the second coming of the Holy Grail, mixing jazz with the mystic invocation of one of the world’s great ensembles of early music. Now comes Remember Me, My Dear, another masterpiece from Mr. Garbarek and the world-famous English a cappella quartet, The Hilliard Ensemble, recorded during the the group’s final tour. The album offers an unforgettable repertoire of early music, contemporary composition, and creative interpretation of materials from Guillaume le Rouge, Arvo Part, Hildegard von Bingen, Pérotin, Antoine Brumel to Komitas,  and more. Highlights include Procedentum Sponsum, Santus, Litany, Remember Me, My Dear, Agnus Dei, We Are The Stars, and Ov Zarmanali.