Monday, October 26, 2015

Harvey Valdes, Roundabout

We have encountered guitarist Harvey Valdes on the blogs before, but this is his first solo guitar venture (that I know of) and it shows a side of him both surprising and impressive. Roundabout (self released) involves a set of nine standards, Harvey Valdes and his electric guitar, and a lot of imagination and chops.

Valdes channels the note-chordal traditions of the guitar as someone like Joe Pass did so well. Harvey picks his standards carefully and creates a beautiful contemporary original take on that tradition. The harmonic sense of the playing is superb, the inventive results all his own and the music ravishing to hear.

Whether it is a matter of Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way," Miles' "Blue in Green" or the chestnut "Stella By Starlight" one gains a new appreciation of the possibilities of the songs by their thorough and brilliant harmonizations and an unparalleled improvisational insightfulness.

This is guitar artistry at the highest levels, make no mistake. Everything is right there for you to hear. Nothing is overplayed but you most certainly do not feel that is in any way incomplete.

Anyone with an understanding of the guitar and its reluctance to yield blissful results will no doubt wish she or he could play like this. If you actually do, then you will recognize a close kinship with Harvey. For the rest of us, we can only marvel at his abilities and enjoy to the fullest.

Roundabout will wow you. This I vow!

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