Corey Christiansen

Lone Prairie



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MUSIC REVIEW BY Robert Ratajczak, LongPlay: RadioJAZZ - Poland


[translated from Polish] Lone Prairie is the fifth album by Corey Christiansen in recent years (third released by the American label Origin Records), successfully strengthening his position among the greatest jazz guitarists in the world. After a stunning debut in 2004 (The Awakening), an album he recorded with trio MB3 (Hits Jazz Vol.1), and two albums highly accepted in the United States: Roll With It and Outlaw Tractor, Christiansen decided to reach for the music that surrounded him in his childhood, which he spent in Utah surrounded by mountains and prairies. It was while listening to traditional country songs for the first time that he reached for the guitar. Lone Prairie is a collection of ten songs that combine styles as far apart as modern electric jazz and traditional songs of the American West cowboy. For the recording Christiansen procured perfect American jazz musicians: keyboardists Steve Allee and Zach Lapidus, bassist Jeremy Allen, drummer Matt Jorgensen and percussion master Mike Spiro.

On the folk side of the album are three traditional songs Corey Christiansen maintained in a similar style ("California Widow," "Chaparral" and "Bootyard"), the hit 1959 Marty Robbins "El Paso" and an excellent jazz interpretation of the theme from the film Once Upon a Time Wild West by Ennio Morricone ("Il Grande Massacro").

Hearing the opening track "Dying Californian" makes you wonder why you haven't heard it in this more traditional style before. Next, the jazz standard "Streets of Laredo" clearly touches on the sound and arrangement of typical country ballads. Christiansen builds great solos, Jeremy Allen plays an excellent bass, and the stylish, electric keyboard reminds us that this is jazz afterall.

There is almost a rock feel to the sounds on "In The Pines". Overdrive, raging in the foreground guitar, electric piano and bass guitar can sometimes be associated with the aesthetic known to us from the latest album by Dean Brown (Unfinished Business, 2012). But Christiansen has an original, definitely different playing technique both in terms of phrasing and melodic build in his improvised lines.
The first composition on Lone Prairie is a progressive interpretation of "California Widow." There is an impressionistic character of the piece with slightly disturbing though captivating melodies and an air of respite before the next immortal American standard. "Sittin' On Top Of The World" grabs at the funky rhythm and blues version of both the guitar part by Christiansen and, for a change, the tradtional acoustic piano and electric keyboard, played by Steve Allee and Zachu Lapidusie.

There is a highly stylish (almost intimate) interpretation of "Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie" wafting gently with a distinctive style of the achievements of Carlos Santana. During another new composition by Christiansen in this collection, "Chaparral," again we have the opportunity to admire the special structure of both melody and invention through the acoustic piano. As a pristine finish to the whole is a stylish interpretation of Christiansen's "Red River Valley" combined with the final theme "Bootyard."

Christiansen payed great respect to the legacy of America's country music on this album. The success of the disc is due in large part to perfectly matched musicians coming from both geographically and stylistically different environments. Lone Prairie is a really great album, worthy of special attention from both fans of modern jazz guitar playing and all jazz lovers.





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