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Surrender To The Wind by Willie August Project The

At last, a "youthful" jazz guitarist who doesn’t break his neck trying to capture/channel the styles of Jim Hall, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, or Wes Montgomery! Not that there’s anything amiss with those fellows, but if I want to hear them, I’ll listen to their discs - too many guitarists follow a bit too closely in their giant footsteps. Guitarist Ben Siems has obviously learned a more n’ a bit from those guys, yet he doesn’t "sound like" any of ‘em. The beautifully pensive, acoustic "Andean Fire Circle" feels like he’s listened to only acoustic jazz string-benders (like Ralph Towner) but also to folk-oriented guitarists Leo Kottke and John Fahey. I don’t detect much "rock" influence in Siems’ style, but there are faint echoes of Hendrix (more melodically than stylistically). Another fine thing re: this Siems doesn’t overplay, plays melodies (instead of just "notes"), and employs (but does not overindulge) a sense of quietude & "space," as do his beautifully empathetic bass/drums band-mates. (Special kudos to drummer Jeremy Hauer, whose brittle, tasty, slightly minimalist approach recalls Matt Wilson and Han Bennink.) There is plenty of crisp swing to go along with the "suspension" of time.... and don’t let’s forget the brief but welcome lyrical keys-tinkling by Laura Caviani. This Midwestern combo is gonna be a contender, you wait ‘n’ see.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Willie August Project The
  • CD Title: Surrender To The Wind
  • Genre: Folk Jazz
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: DiPhoCal
  • Musicians: Ben Siems (acoustic & electric guitar), Scot Hornick, Jim Chenoweth (acoustic bass), Jeremy Hauer (drums), Laura Caviani (piano).
  • Rating: Four Stars
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