Resonance is an excellent title for this unique CD by John Stowell. It was recorded in Portland, Oregon, between 2003 and 2004 at luthier Mike Doolin's home studio. All of the guitars were designed and built by Mike.
John's style and his complete control of the tone and timber of the guitar, his master of dynamics, and the wonderful guitars that Mike Doolin has provided, make this set resonate with joy and love.
Opening with an immediately novel approach to a favorite Jerome Kern tune, "Nobody Else But Me," John makes a lovely harmonic enhancement with his chords. He follows with an upbeat chorus, and the work is sensitive, gentle, and respects the tune. Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Picture in Black and White," is treated similarly, but in a darker hue. "Prelude to a Kiss," a Duke Ellington favorite, brings a grand approach with greatly expressive harmonies.
There are 13 great tunes on this album, and some beautiful compositional work by John Stowell. The sixth track reveals "Ron's Return" by Stowell, and the moves into "Eclipse," another Stowell original. These were not simple, but they still capture the listener, with great guitar playing, extraordinary writing, and wonderful, virtuostic technique.
"Some Other Time" by Leonard Bernstein was played in a very pensive but light and enjoyable style. John always shows complete control, fresh approaches to chords and single-line improvisation.
Perhaps my favorite track on the CD is another Stowell original, "Maybe Later." The CD gives the listener a really good feeling, and whether one is listening intently, or just having the CD on in the background, one's mood is elevated, and the music is enjoyable all of the time. John and his music are unique, from the way he holds his guitar to the voicings he develops for his own sounds. He always has a great deal to say in his quiet, sincere way, and it resonates.