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Taking It All In by Peter Sprague

Guitarist Peter Sprague’s newest CD Taking It All In is fantastic. This is one guitarist who is stretching himself musically and artistically. The album was recorded in Peter’s home studio, SpragueLand, so this gave him a greater range in layering and perfecting and the work shows. Three outstanding musicians, Tripp Sprague on tenor and flute, Bob Magnusson on bass, join Peter and Duncan Moore is on drums. The quartet jells and complement each other on all the tracks.

I hear many fine influences in Peter’s playing but Pat Metheny is one of the more prominent. The nice thing in his playing is I don’t hear a stream of "Methenyisms" but Peter is actually developing his own sound. The first track, "Taking It All In," is a lovely composition. The song begins with an acoustic guitar the stumming chords as the electric guitar and sax glide out the melody; the next section is the bass playing a new melody with the bow. It has a really nice flow that reminded me a lot of what one might hear on a Metheny or Marc Johnson’s Bass Desires. "Shinobi" is a great bebop composition; Peter keeps the solos interesting with added hits thrown in for a nice contrasted. On the funky side are the tracks "Acid Peter" and "Alien I.Q." Peter again composes really strong and smart tunes. They not just the band jamming over a vamp, but Peter has them really creating over some nice bluesy changes. The highlights are his acoustic pieces. The Latin "Zen Joao" and the folky "Gospel" are very nice. Again, Peter puts out strong compositions and fantastic playing on each. The interpretation of Pat Metheny’s "Travels" is also an acoustic highlight. It is good to hear a guitarist using many guitars on an album, as it brings life and energy to a song when you mix up the timbre.

Taking It All In is an album that does just that. It takes in Peter's fine gift of composition and improvisation. He should be at the top of the list when it comes to Artist Deserving Wider Recognition. But hopefully this album will strengthen this sentiment to others.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Peter Sprague
  • CD Title: Taking It All In
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: SBE Records
  • Tracks: Taking It All In, Shinobi, Zen Joao, Unmarketable Math, Travels, Acid Peter, Joe Farrell, Calling Me Home, Alien I.Q., Kundalini
  • Musicians: Peter Sprague (guitar), Tripp Sprague (tenor sax and flute), Bob Magnusson (bass), Duncan Moore (drums)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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