Richard Crandell is a Eugene, Oregon-based guitar master and noted performer on the Mbira, a Zimbabwean thumb piano also known in parts of Southern Africa as a kalimba.
Richard’s song composition, “Rebecca,” was recorded by Leo Kottke and released on Leo’s album release, Chewed Pine.
Richard has performed on stage with drummer Stanton Moore, Skerik (Galatic, Les Claypool, Garage a Trois, Critters Buggin’), Japanese jam-band, Meltone, John Fahey, Leo Kottke and Jim Page.
Richard’s has performed on numerous studio sessions for others, as well as releasing a slew of albums – both as a solo artist and in various duo configurations.
For the first time, Richards’s long out-of-print classic guitar LPs are now finally being re-released in CD format on Sound Advice Records (Portland, Oregon). One of the initial releases is his early 80’s masterpiece, High Places, recorded with fellow guitar genius, Bill Bartels.
In the Flower of Our Youth (1980 Cutthroat Records, 2007, Sound Advice Records) Originally released on Crandell’s own, Cutthroat Records, this new CD re-release of Richards original solo acoustic guitar genius contains four special bonus tracks, including a rip-roaring take on his song “boxcars.”
Oregon Hill (1985 Cutthroat Records / 2007 Sound Advice Records) Now with three bonus tracks added for the CD release, Oregon Hill is the first recorded collaboration between Crandell and Bill Bartels.
Christmas Unplugged (with Tim Danforth)( 1999, Cutthroat Records) This melodious collections of Christmas classics has been highly praised for its originality and soothing tone.
High Places (with Bill Bartels) (2007, Sound Advice Records) This never-released collection of sublime tracks from 1985 had finally seen the light of day. The CD feature the endlessly inventive and razor-sharp playing of two true masters at the height of their prowess. Special appearance by Barry “BJ” Wilson of Procul Harum on drums and percussion.
Mbira Magic (2004, Tzadik Records, tzadik.com) Quixotic, multi-tracked mbira meditations, produced by avant-garde guru, John Zorn. Also features supporting performances by the world-renowned percussionist Cyro Baptista (David Byrne, Herbie Hancock). Lauded as a “folk-minimalist” in the tradition of Harry Partch, Philip Glass and Steve Reich.
Mbira Magic was voted a Top 10 Album of 2004 by Washington Post music critic, Mark Jenkins. Rippling improvisations.
Pitchfork Media rated the Mbira Magic a 7.9, stating “Hypnotic melodies…the album inhabits the same world of atmospherics as ambient music. Crandell’s phrases swell and ebb, as though pausing to breathe. The overall effect is one of sitting with him as he weaves quiet lines that float on air.”
OTHERMUSIC.COM: Philip Alexander said “(A)n unprecedented and breathtaking achievement in minimalism…the sound is incredibly deep and rich, with slowly rolling rhythms and repetitive melodies that are likely to put you in a deep trance. Mbira Magic is among the most gorgeous recordings I’ve heard all year and is quite honestly one of the best Tzadik releases ever.” A Top 10 Album of the Year.”
New Age Retailer “This beautiful set of tracks lulls listeners, effortlessly stripping away the details of 21st Century live to lay bare rhythms and sounds that evoke wind, the tide and warm sunshine.”
The Eugene Weekly called it “magical.” Others have decribed Mbira Magic as: “This is one of the dreamiest, floatiest, head-in-the-clouds records ever…the perfect soundtrack to your dreams.”
Spring Steel (forthcoming release – November 2007, Tzadik Records) Richard’s internationally-awaited second mbira album, also featuring percussion magician, Cyro Baptista.
Sound Advice Records and Publishing can be reached at (503) 473-8252.
Richard Crandell can be reached at (541) 698-9494