Charlie Rhyner: The First Second

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The album which I would like to present today comes from Charlie Rhyner, a guitarist from the New York area. “The First Second” is his second album and it features six originals from Charlie plus three cover songs.

The official release date is June 1st, 2018, but you can already buy and download the album.

Charlie started playing guitar as a teenager and focused always on writing and recording songs (to all parents: please buy a house with a basement, so your children have an area to do such things). He studied classical and jazz guitar and works now as a music teacher at a public school in New York.

He told me that his inspiration came initially from people like Neil Young or Tom Petty, but later he listened also to Miles Davis, Phish or Cream. The guitar players he admires are John Scofield, Mike Stern or Pat Metheny.

The album was recorded in April 2018 and the songs have been written in the last year. The musicians on the album are:

Charlie Rhyner – guitar, compositions
Mike Roninson – bass
Graciliano Zambonin – drums
Imraan Khan – saxophone
Dan Schnapp – piano

Charlie explained to me that he plays a lot with Mike Roninson and he met Graciliano and Imraan by lucky circumstances at a jam session.

The album starts with “Jethiya” one of the six originals from Charlie. The melody is played by sax and guitar, with fine rhythmic changes. Imraan takes the first solo and Charlie the second one. Bass and drums provide a solid and stable layer for the soloists.

“Golden Cuffs” is the second original. Instrumentation is guitar trio only featuring Charlie and Mike. A soft tune, played nicely and dynamically.

The third song is called “Pat’s Print” and is a blues with solos from all musicians.

“Nardis” by Miles Davis is the next tune on the album. For me the album starts to take off with this tune. The first three songs are what you call in ice skating “short program” but the “free skate” begins here.  Charlie told me that he really “likes and identifies” with this song, but also Mike Roninson plays a great double bass solo.

The next song is called “Boozy Dough” and was recorded at Charlie’s house. It’s like an interlude with just some guitars and a little bit of percussion. Gives you a little bit of a break before we continue with “Juju” by Wayne Shorter. This is also one of my favorite songs and Charlie, Mike and Graciliano know how to play it. Very well done.

“Breakdown” by Tom Petty is next.  We had Tom Petty before as inspiration and so Charlie took the chance to arrange this song after seeing Tom Petty live last summer. It is very well arranged with a killer piano sound.

“Handsome  & Healthy” comes with a steady beat and again a great bass solo.

The album closes with “Black Daniels” a song that starts soft and easy.  According to Charlie “the song falls apart in the middle” where the band moves into a steady groove allowing Imraan and Charlie to improvise freely.

As a summary I have to say that the album is very well done, the sound of the instruments is brilliant. The musicians play excellent and Charlie has done a great job in composing and arranging the material.

Charlie and his comrades are also active performing musicians in the NYC area, so check out the link below and you might have a good chance to listen to some of the songs live.

You can listen or download the album on bandcamp:
https://charlierhyner.bandcamp.com/album/the-first-second

Charlie with his Gibson 335:
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If you want to know more about Charlie please check out his website:
www.charlierhyner.com

Claudio Scolari, Daniele Cavalca & Simone Scolari: Natural Impulse

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Another album that combines electronic and acoustic music comes from Italy, from drummer Claudio Scolari, multi-instrumentalist Daniele Cavalca and trumpet player Simone Scolari (he is Claudio’s son).

Their album “Natural Impulse” was released on January 26, 2018.

Claudio Scolari was educated as classical percussionist and works at the Conservatory of Caltanissetta in Sicily. 

The basic idea of the album is to compose in real time without any rules. Nevertheless the songs in the album have a strong structure and rich color, so it is a real pleasure to listen to the album. Every tune has it’s own mood, it’s own spirit, making the CD diversified and very entertaining.

10 songs are on the album with a total playtime of 62 minutes.

The opener “Unknown Destination” introduces the band: drums, trumpet, a piano that sounds a little bit honky-tonky and various synthesizer sounds. After that intro the song gets into its pulse, with  piano and trumpet as duellists.

The second tune “American Skyscrapers” is one of my favorite tunes on the album. Base of the song is a somehow familiar jazz harmonic structure and again a steady pulse from drums and bass. Daniele Cavalca on vibraphone adds the extra NYC-Jazz-touch here.

The next song is called “Chasing Inspiration” and is a lonesome trumpet in conversation with a synthesizer accompanied by two drum sets.

The fourth song is the title song of the album. The piano plays the main theme and solo backed up by drums and bass.

The next tune is called “Moon Mood” and is a big contrast to the spartan sound from before. The trumpet plays the melody and various synthesizer sounds support Simone Scolari. A slow riff by bass and drums build the fundament of the tune.

“Dear John” comes next. Again, the trumpet plays the melody with the support of a synthesizer pulse. The mood of this song is quite festive and ceremonial.

“Uptown Nigh Trip” starts very open with a Fender Rhodes piano, synthesizer and drums searching for the right direction for the night trip. Sometimes they find a place where to stay but the search continues throughout the song. A brillant abstract painting.

Song #8 is called “Insomnia” and continues where “Uptown Night Trip” ended, the search continues  with the full ensemble in action: trumpet, vibraphone, piano, synthesizers, bass and drums. The trumpet manages sometimes to escape that dark feeling with beautiful high notes.

The next tune is called “Over The Horizon” and is another of my favorites on the album. Great synthesizer layer with the trumpet above and bass and drums supporting them.

The album finishes with the song “South Hemisphere” and it shows again all the different elements that make this album so pleasant: complex rhythmic structures, a great variety of sounds and a brillant trumpet above all that.

As a summary I have to say that this album is a perfect example of modern improvised music combining different elements from Jazz, classical and world music into one masterpiece. The album is not a conventional Jazz album but a journey to improvised music and into sound-painting. So, take your time to listen to the complete album, don’t rush through the songs and I hope you will find the same inspiration from this music as I did.

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If you want to know more about Claudio Scolari please take a look at his website:
www.claudioscolari.com

There is a nice interview with him on JazzBluesNews:
http://jazzbluesnews.space/2017/12/31/claudio-scolari/

And finally a playlist on iTunes: