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Far & Wide by Andeas Hagiioannu

UK-based jazz guitarist Andreas Hagiioannu (pronounced Haijianu’) is a well-schooled musician who cites jazz greats Kenny Burrell and Jimmy Raney as two "important" influences. And while this release marks his debut effort as a solo artist, he’s also an English tutor and internationally published literary critic. Here, the guitarist sports a crystalline sound on electric, summoning notions of Burrell and Wes Montgomery in spots. More importantly, Hagiioannu chooses his notes wisely via a profoundly lyrical mode of attack. He uses space as a vehicle for conveying a sense of openness and reflection.

The artist intersperses the proceedings with somber, acoustic and electric solo endeavors, often transmitting a folksy edge, marked by meticulously designed chord progressions. His rhythm section doesn’t overexcite or intrude as they maintain the syncopated rhythms with flair and eloquence. On the piece "Look Both Ways," Hagiioannu pursues a walking motif due to his dainty, finger-style voicings. And for the most part, many of these works are engineered upon medium to up-tempo swing vamps, where the leader kicks it up a few notches due to his fluid single note lines and multihued dynamics.

Overall, the music iterated here fits snugly within the mainstream jazz mold. No frills or revolutionary processes on hand. However, Haggiioannu communicates a radiant tone to coincide with his in-depth knowledge of the jazz vernacular. It’s a pleasant surprise for 2007.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Andeas Hagiioannu
  • CD Title: Far & Wide
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Marque Records
  • Musicians: Andreas Hagiioannu (guitar), Dirk Griffin (bass), Alan Savage (drums)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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