Guitarist, singer, composer, teacher and poet Reynold David Philipsek has released a number recordings as a leader over the years. Among the artists he's worked with include Connie Evingson, Clint Hoover, The Wolverines Big Band, Glen Helgeson, and Patrick Harison. Philipsek also played with French Gypsy Jazz master Dorado Schmitt during his 2005 U.S. tour.
Tales From The North Woods is a short little ten track CD coming in at under 30 minutes. All of the tunes feature Philipsek playing solo acoustic guitar with an overdubbed solo acoustic guitar for accompaniment. While none of the compositions stand out, they are nice and overall the disc is a sweet little ditty that does delight. The compositions come in a variety of styles. Three examples include "Babushka" which has a Russian feel to it, "Butterfly" is a waltz, and "Rococo" has a Spanish feel with a strong backbeat.
As a guitarist it's obvious Philipsek has no problems with technique. He is fleet of finger and his single line solos are firmly established in the jazz tradition. His command of jazz harmonies is impressive. The beauty of the fact that none of the pieces are extended in any way, the longest comes in at just under four minutes, is that Philipsek gets into the solos, says what he has to say, doesn't overstay his welcome, and exits in a very pleasant manner. So many soloists lose their way on long solos; that Philipsek keeps his statements brief speaks to not only his musical maturity but also to his taste and eloquence as a soloist. Overall this is a brief, but very nice short CD by an acoustic guitarist looking to extend his audience.