Tag Archives: Guitar

Graham Dechter: Major Influence

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A fantastic new album called ‘Major Influence’ has been released by Graham Dechter in September.  The guitarist wrote and arranged all but one of the tunes. “After completing seven originals and co-arranging the classic ‘Pure Imagination’ with Mr. Hamilton, I came to the realization that every song on this recording, whether consciously or subconsciously, was dedicated to and/or directly influenced by one or more of my musical heroes.”

He reunites with the dream team rhythm section of his first two albums: Tamir Hendelman on piano, John Clayton on bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums.

The album starts with ‘Orange Coals’, a bluesy composition which swings hard and features Graham Dechter and Tamir Hendelmann with excellent solos. What a start.

‘Reference’ is the next song, much softer but still moving with Jeff Hamilton using his brushes, the head is a nice dialog between guitar and piano on one side and bass on the other side, producing this killer sound when guitar and piano play in unison.

The album continues with the title song. ‘Major Influence’ is a melodic song with a beautiful melody and great melodic guitar and piano solos.

‘Moonithology’ comes next. This song swings nicely, again with excellent brush work by Jeff Hamilton on drums. This song gives John Clayton the chance to shine with a nice bass solo.

The album continues with ‘Minor Influence’, another hard swinging (minor) blues. This song is like the trademark of Graham Dechter, very straight and very bluesy. And, no surprise, we hear in my opinion the best guitar solo on the album. Outstanding.

In strong contrast comes the balladesque version of ‘Pure Imagination’. Jeff Hamilton is featured with a fantastic brush drums solo.

‘Bent on Monk’ is obviously inspired by Thelonious Monk and comes with a funky and chromatic melody. An entertaining tune in jam style with solos from all musicians.

The album ends with ‘Billy’s Dilemma’ a fast and artistic song giving this excellent musician and his band a final chance to impress us with their fast and precise playing.

Graham Dechter has deep roots in the tradition of guitar playing and his new album shows this in an outstanding way. All songs are played with great melodic ideas, swing hard and have this connection to the blues.

And here is the complete album on Spotify:

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Ollendorff: A Song For You

A Song For You

UK guitarist Tom Ollendorff has released a fantastic debut album on the Spanish jazz label ‘Fresh Sound New Talent’. Tom is accompanied by Conor Chaplin on bass and Marc Michel on drums. The trio has been playing together for several years and as Tom points out: “The trio developed it’s own sound and character”.

 

A significant part of this individual character comes from Toms guitar playing style, a combination of plectrum and picking which creates a full and dense sound.

The album starts with the title song ‘A Song For You’, an original from Tom with a beautiful melody that modulates between major and minor. First solo goes to Conor Chaplin on bass before we get the chance to listen to the first guitar solo. Every note is played crystal clear, the trio plays quite open but always in time and with nice dynamics, the sound is fresh and transparent and it is great pleasure to listen to this song.

‘Spring’ continues in this way, a feast of beautiful harmonies and melodic ideas with a sophisticated bass and drum accompaniment.

‘Etude 1′ is a nice little guitar solo piece which demonstrates Tom’s outstanding technique. Tom Ollendorff has published a transcription of this song on his website and the following video on youtube:

 

‘Not In These Days’ and ‘XY’ are the two extended tunes on the album, both originals from Tom, the first one impresses with the freedom drummer Marc Michel takes, the second a medium-up jazz tune shows the ‘classic’ jazz skills of Tom Ollendorff and his trio.

‘Autumn in New York’ is the only jazz standard on this album and Tom uses this tune for great chord melodies.

The album continues with ‘Aare’ named after the river that flows through Bern which is famous for being one of the longest open air swimming ‘pools’ in Switzerland. Again, a beautiful and atmospheric song featuring Marc Michel with an excellent drums solo.

The trio presents a second etude with ‘Etude 3′ this time with a simple bass and sophisticated drums focusing on cymbals.

The album ends with ‘These Days (Outro)’ a little light and airy tune that fades away in harmony and elegance.

I might repeat myself, but I like this album very much. Tom Ollendorff is a great guitarist with a distinct sound and style, the interaction in this trio is fantastic and very precise, the compositions are beautiful and the sound is clear and atmospheric. Please enjoy.

More information on tour dates are found on Tom Ollendorff’s website:

https://www.tomollendorff.com/

And finally a playlist of the album on Spotify: