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Whether it is trading “licks” with guitarists of such diversity as John Abercrombie or Bucky Pizzarelli on “6x6,” playing romantic, melodic solos on “Royce Campbell Plays For Lovers,” or exploring gypsy jazz on the recent “Gypsy Soul” jazz guitarist Royce Campbell has proven to be a versatile, musical guitarist no matter what the setting, and this new CD, Elegy to a Friend,” is no exception. However, the style of jazz Campbell presents here is more “cutting edge” than Campbell’s previous CD releases, so it reveals the more experimental side of Campbell’s playing and composing, a side of Campbell that has, until now, only been exposed in concert.
Accompanying him into the world of experimental jazz are woodwind player Terrence Cook, bassist Ratzo Harris, and the late Stan Gage on drums to whom the CD is dedicated. Stan Gage died at the much too young age of 47 without much recorded output, so hopefully this CD will help to expose the great talents that Stan possessed.
This CD is destined to become a collector's item that will increase in value over the years. Out of print Royce Campbell CD's are already being sold at many times the original value as collector's items.
Royce Campbell has produced a number of CD's which feature him in the company of many of the greats of the jazz guitar, including legendary guitarists Herb Ellis, Tal Farlow, Jimmy Raney, and Cal Collins, Pat Martino, John Abercrombie, Larry Coryell, Dave Stryker and Bucky Pizzarelli. His latest project for Paddlewheel, Project G-5, A Tribute to Joe Pass, includes Charlie Byrd, Gene Bertoncini, Mundel Lowe, and John Pisano.
A Tribute To Henry Mancini, on Episode Records, is one of Royce's personal favorites. This CD was the highest rated jazz guitar CD in the country on the radio airplay charts for four weeks reaching #8 overall and received much critical acclaim. Royce has toured in Europe eight times and toured Japan ten times as a soloist. Royce has also performed with many jazz greats such as Mel Torme, James Moody, Nancy Wilson, Sarah Vaughn, Jack McDuff, Ray Brown, Dave Brubeck, Joe Williams, Cleo Laine, Eddie Daniels, Eddie Harris, Frank Morgan and Mose Allison.
Royce was featured on the cover of the two main jazz guitar magazines String Jazz and Just Jazz Guitar. He was also featured in profiles in Jazz Times, Down Beat, Guitar Player Magazine, 21st Century Guitar, Japan's Swing Journal and Germany's Akustik Gitarre. It is apparent that more and more people are becoming aware of Royce Campbell's talents (see reviews) as a world class jazz guitar master.
With this release Campbell proves once again why he is considered one of the most versatile guitarists in jazz. Campbell has had 11 CD releases in a row make the national jazz charts includin 4 in the top ten. It was long overdue for Campbell to show this side of his playing on recordings, and “Elegy To A Friend” is a perfect vehicle to achieve this.