Ten classic, timeless tunes from the Great American Songbook arranged and performed by Christopher Schlegel for solo jazz guitar. This album is a set of standards in the laid-back, virtuoso style of jazz guitar giants Joe Pass, George Van Eps and Johnny Smith.
Scott Yanow, author of many jazz books & noted jazz critic, has graciously reviewed this CD.
Solo Jazz Guitar Standards, Vol. 1
Throughout his life thus far, Christopher Schlegel has played a wide variety of music on his guitar. The website for his Schlegel Entertainment Company mentions futuristic romanticism symphonies, guitar sonatas, string quartets, short orchestral pieces, electric guitar instrumentals, pop, rock, jazz, and fusion songs. Clearly he is a musician with wide tastes and impressive talent.
On Solo Jazz Guitar Standards, Vol. 1, the music lives up to its billing yet also exceeds it. Schlegel performs ten standards as unaccompanied guitar works. Somehow he gives the impression that he can play melody, chords and a bass line at the same time. While he always keeps the melody close by, Schlegel displays very impressive technique, imagination, and constant creativity.
On the opening “I Got Rhythm,” Schlegel adds extra bars in spots where they manage to fit, takes his time to get through a chorus, and yet swings all the way. As on the other pieces, he gives the impression that he is giving an informal performance on his front porch, like a country blues guitarist except with the sophistication of a modern jazz player.
Other highlights include a version of “Blue Monk” that goes through several tempos, “The Man I Love” (which quotes “Rhapsody In Blue”), “Isn’t This A Lovely Day” and “Moonglow.” But in reality all ten selections are quite enjoyable, with Schlegel making the impossible sound effortless. There are times when he hints at both Joe Pass and Stanley Jordan, but he has his own approach to playing jazz guitar.
It is difficult to believe, listening to this CD, that Christopher Schlegel does not play jazz guitar full time, and that he is not very well known. Clearly he is a guitarist to watch for in the future. This CD serves as an excellent introduction to his work.
Author of ten jazz books including The Jazz Singers, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76