56941-2 Nylon & Steel
No production credits
Released on May 22, 2001
US TOP CLASSICAL CROSSOVER CHART POSITION #10
Find it at GEMM
56941-2 cover
[high resolution scan]

T his is the classical guitarist’s crossover into rock, sort of, featuring duets with Al Di Meola, Steve Morse and Andy Summers. I put that “sort of” in there because Barrueco doesn’t actually play rock music; rather, he blends his classical style with rock guitarists who themselves adopt a classical pose for the proceedings. Here again, Di Meola and company aren’t crossing over into something new, but had already discovered a classical hybrid in their own travels (tangos, arpeggiated dreams and avant-garde still-lifes, respectively). So Nylon & Steel is less about a crossover than a series of interesting pairings, like wine and if not exactly cheese than something with a distinctive and different tang. The disc opens and closes with a solo piece, first the playful “Odeon” (which reminded me of Keith Emerson’s clever piano shorts) and finally the ambitious if occasionally hamstrung “Rodeo” by Aaron Copland. The material is split between original compositions from the contributing artists and arrangements of works by Heitor Villa-Lobos (“Wolvesville”), Ernesto Nazareth (“Odeon”) and others. Di Meola’s three pieces (recorded in June of 2000) are typical of his fiery tango works from this period; the two-part “Azzurra” is a highlight. The Steve Morse recordings feature electric guitar and have a dreamier feel. “Up In The Air,” written by Morse, is a showstopper; his fans will almost certainly get a kick out of this classical send-up. The Summers sessions, presented last, were actually the first to develop, dating back to September of 1999. Yet this is the least effective of the three pairings and has almost an enervating effect on the album; the noisy “Crow At Midnight” seems to concede any hope of matching the rarefied heights of “Azzurra” or “Up In The Air.” While it’s always interesting when great artists get together, Di Meola and Summers are better served by any number of works in their respective catalog, an assessment I presume would carry over to Morse and Barrueco as well.

TRACK LISTING

  1. ODEON    (Ernesto Nazareth, arr. by Manuel Barrueco)    3:16
  2. BEYOND THE MIRAGE    (Al Di Meola)    6:50
  3. AZZURRA    (Al Di Meola)    7:27
  4. THE GRAND PASSION    (Al Di Meola)    4:22
  5. WOLVESVILLE (An Improvisation on Etude No.1 by Villa-Lobos)    (Heitor Villa-Lobos, arr. by Steve Morse and Manuel Barrueco)    2:01
  6. CAVATINA    (Stanley Myers)    3:15
  7. WITHOUT SUNGLASSES (SENSE ULLERES DE SOL)    (Victor Valls)    2:57
  8. NORTHERN LIGHTS    (Steve Morse)    3:22
  9. UP IN THE AIR    (Steve Morse)    2:19
  10. MYSTERIES OF THE SLOW RIVER (MISTERIOS DO RIO LENTO)    (Celso Machado)    4:02
  11. I REMEMBER    (Andy Summers)    4:54
  12. CROW AT MIDNIGHT    (Andy Summers)    2:49
  13. RODEO    (Aaron Copland, arr. by Manuel Barrueco)    3:39

CREDITS

MANUEL BARRUECO -- guitar
Al Di Meola -- guitar on tracks 2-4
Steve Morse -- guitar on tracks 5-9
Andy Summers -- guitar on tracks 10-12
Greenberg Kingsley/NYC -- art direction & design
Kimberly Beck -- photography
Peter Zander -- photography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US May 22, 2001 Angel CD 56941-2  

 

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