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:
If you want to know more about Charlie please check out his website: