When approached with honesty, direction and artistic integrity, improvised music has the ability to challenge and ultimately inspire a listener. The ten original compositions on NIS, conceived entirely by French guitarist/composer Gary Braith, conjure up a musical vision of a brave new world built upon tranquility and hope.
Braith creates a distinctive set of musical moods throughout the disc while maintaining an overriding meditative quality. The guitarist favors a clean tone and, for the most part, unaccompanied settings with double tracked guitar some tunes contain bass and synthesizer sounds for ambient texture. With an emphasis on musical storytelling, Braith prefers to explore a quiet, expressive approach to the guitar over irrelevant technical flourishes.
Highlights of Braith’s compositional eclecticism include: "The Whirling Derviches," which implores a hypnotic drone effect surrounded by buoyant melodic flourishes; the Marc Ribot inspired "The Sirens of the Tage River," with a flow of changing texture; and the urban tinged, highly sequenced "Jarra," a stirring tribute to the late Chilean guitarist/singer Victor Jarra.
NIS is a beautiful collection of inspired guitar explorations in the tradition of John Abercrombie, Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell. Braith will appeal to fans of contemporary jazz who are willing to take a chance on an artist with overwhelming talent and fresh ideas.