The harp guitar is an odd instrument, looking like a crazed Renaissance luthier's idea of what the future would hold for the troubador's axe. It's a large bugger with an upper arm arc extending all the way to the pegboard and carrying a number of drone strings. Pianist Brad Hoyt chose some of the top modern fingerstyle guitar and harp guitar players (see the listings below) to hold court in duets that very strongly echo a New Age cathedraline atmosphere alternatingly solemn, hip, meditative, and mildly exploratory.
Hoyt has obviously been listening not only to the classicalists (Rachmaninoff, Brahms, etc.—and I hear some Haydn as well) but also Evans, Guaraldi, Winston, and others, melding light trad jazz with what was for a while called "modern instrumental music" to resolve into a latterday Paul Winterish result, or, perhaps less complimentarily, a Georgia Kelley recital, as Forever Faithful echoes. That is to say, a decent percentage of this venture is too staid for its own good.
Together Alone is a form of chamber music with hip infusions that yield too much to prevalently conservative airs and means. For those fond of such, the disc will be very palatable; for those whose tastes run otherwise, the joining of the several genres will not be completely satisfactory, as the fusion never really finds its ground, terrain that should have cleaved either to wellsprings (classical) or run with the modes represented by some of the progressive talents here (DuFour, Alder, etc.). Either way, Together suffers from a lack of personalization.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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