Breathe The Relaxing Jazz Guitar is an aptly named CD from Telarc featuring some of the finest guitarists on the jazz scene. The album opens with the gorgeous "Ah Moore," led by Joe Pass’s guitar united with the rhythm guitar of John Pisano and finely complimented by Jim Hughart’s bass. Tom Ranier’s piano chops are sparkling.
The Ray Brown Trio and Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius (Oscar Peterson Quartet) hook up for "My Funny Valentine," the kind of a song that you can put your feet up to and enjoy a nice glass of chardonnay. Alternatively, this might be the song to which you can dim the lights and have a candle lit dinner. It was a joy for me to discover that one of the truly nice guys in the music business appears playing, "The First Hint Of Autumn." John Pizzarelli is one of my favorite guitarists and during my brief encounter with him in an interview last summer proved to be a quality individual. I have not encountered anyone in the industry that does not rave about his guitar licks and so they should. Pizzarelli continues the family tradition alive as the son of "Bucky" Pizzarelli, a legendary guitarist who still records and performs.
Those are only the first three songs on a splendid compilation CD from Telarc. What should not be overlooked is the great production work that was done on the original tunes. The incomparable Elaine Martone produced the beautifully arranged "Flowers For Emmett Till," featuring guitarist Russell Malone and pianist Benny Green. Martone also produced guitar man Herb Ellis’s "Blues For Junior."
Al Di Meola whose work can only ever be defined by the word excellent produced his song, "In My Mother’s Eyes (Memory Of Theresa)." Others appearing on this CD include, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Jim Hall and Ernest Ranglin. Ulf Wakenius and the Ray Brown trio combine once again, this time for the song "Summertime." The star of "Summertime," however is Ray Brown with his bass. That is not to diminish the work of Wakenius but Brown is simply at his best. Geoff Keezer has a great piano solo.