If you read my previous reviews of Lawrence Blatt (here and here), then you knew it was only a matter of time before someone tumbled to his superior qualities and, sure enough, none other than William Ackerman, highly famed guitarist and composer of some of the finest chamber world music since the group Oregon, picked up on Larry's brilliant playing and compositions, deciding to produce his latest CD. However, Will didn't stop at just producing it but also joined in on guitar, vocals, and chimes.
The mysterious inner workings of the phenomenal world have always fascinated Blatt as he's fashioned his releases after various inquiries into science and the borderline metaphysical (the latter a matter of what science has yet to codify). On The Color of Sunshine, he became enamored of wavelengths, electromagnetic radiation, and energy vibrations—in other words, color—and each cut is themed upon a particular shade and the moods associated with it. Several tracks are solos, the rest in unison with session players, including Ackerman. Steven Schuch and his violin make a number of welcome appearances, but you'll also find ukelele, percussion, cello, flugelhorn, and so on, much like on the revered Windham Hill LPs.
Blatt's as perspicacious in his chordal choices as he is when finger-picking and the guy is always re-tuning to get just the right hue of coloration; thus, though the release is absolutely cohesive, you nonetheless hear a rainbow of variations. The Color of Sunshine is a bit less abstract than previous releases, and I very much like Blatt's obliquities, but, in lieu, you get a very refreshing set of substitutions, like the island-ish vocals in Infared: The Abyss, which isn't at all a ditty of apocalyptic omen, as one might infer, but rather a breezy toe-tapper, balmy and tropical. Mar Azul mirrors it in brisker terms, as Spanish as the title implies, a solo exercise until the ensemble slowly blends in and sets everything to a highly engaging finish.
This disc marks a bit of a transition for Lawrence Blatt, and I suspect the next CD will blend the older slightly more outré with the newer purely traditional bent. It'll be an interesting combination indeed, with this as precursor.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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