Jazz guitarist Ralph Towner & classical music

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Eetu Pellonpää
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Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2005 4:31 pm

Jazz guitarist Ralph Towner & classical music

Post by Eetu Pellonpää » Wed Nov 08, 2006 5:09 am

Thought to ask if there are anybody here who are familiar with his music? He plays classical acoustic guitar as his main instrument (also piano + other keyboards), and though his contribution on other jazz artist records are mostly pure modern jazz, in some of his solo albums where he plays only the guitar, I think lies an interface with jazz and classical music. If somebody is interested of classical guitar, I think his "Solo Concert" and "Anthem" might be a worthy records to listen. Though he creates his compositions wiht classical elements, there are also space for improvisation in them. But I must admit that I have seldom heard so constructive improvisation which he does, so an association of boring wandering doesn't fit to them in my opinion.

http://www.ralphtowner.com/

I think there are also some other jazz artists, who have relations to classical music, like pianist Bill Evans, who was quoted as one of the primal innovators by Ralph Towner. Also Keith Jarrett has done recordings of Händel's piano compositions.

BWV 1080
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Post by BWV 1080 » Wed Nov 08, 2006 10:27 am

I like Ralph Towner quite a bit and he does have real classical guitar chops. I had a professor who compared classical - jazz fusion (once known as Third Stream) to a mule, meaning to get anything you kept having to go back to the horse and donkey.

Eetu Pellonpää
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2005 4:31 pm

Post by Eetu Pellonpää » Fri Nov 10, 2006 3:04 am

^ Nice to learn the meaning of "Third Strem" term, there's a such label in the local library's CD categories, where I found some Ralph's records too. I'll have to check out other artists from that genre too! :D

moldyoldie
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Post by moldyoldie » Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:59 am

I've been a fan of Towner's since the '70s with The Paul Winter Consort, the very unique fusion group called Oregon (still performing and recording), and the equally stunning group of ECM label "stablemates" called Solstice. His guitar/piano solo albums Diary and City of Eyes are personal favorites.

I've only seen him perform live once, with Oregon in '78 at Michigan State U. The audience was spellbound!

I think Towner and other guitarists of his ilk have been effectively "tucked" into that nether-genre called "new age", which perhaps satisfies those with a need to label and categorize. Perhaps it's known as "third stream" now. In any case, Towner's melding of jazz, classical, and world/folk elements opened the ears of many listeners.

Keith Jarrett also released a recording of Shostakovich's 24 Preludes and Fugues on ECM back in 1992 which I also found "ear-opening", but probably irked classical purists.

BWV 1080
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Post by BWV 1080 » Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:08 am

moldyoldie wrote:
I think Towner and other guitarists of his ilk have been effectively "tucked" into that nether-genre called "new age", which perhaps satisfies those with a need to label and categorize. Perhaps it's known as "third stream" now. In any case, Towner's melding of jazz, classical, and world/folk elements opened the ears of many listeners.
No Third Stream is an older term applied to Gunther Schuller and others in the 1950's and 1960's that attempted to meld classical and jazz. New age is an unfortunate term, I always have called that early Metheney, Frisell, Towner etc. ECM jazz, to differentiate it

moldyoldie
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Location: Motown, USA

Post by moldyoldie » Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:23 am

BWV 1080 wrote:
moldyoldie wrote:
I think Towner and other guitarists of his ilk have been effectively "tucked" into that nether-genre called "new age", which perhaps satisfies those with a need to label and categorize. Perhaps it's known as "third stream" now. In any case, Towner's melding of jazz, classical, and world/folk elements opened the ears of many listeners.
No Third Stream is an older term applied to Gunther Schuller and others in the 1950's and 1960's that attempted to meld classical and jazz. New age is an unfortunate term, I always have called that early Metheney, Frisell, Towner etc. ECM jazz, to differentiate it
Ah, thanks for the clarification.

"ECM jazz" -- works for me. The label does seem to have its own vibe; e.g., Keith Jarrett on ECM is different from Jarrett on Impulse or Columbia.

Eetu Pellonpää
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2005 4:31 pm

Post by Eetu Pellonpää » Wed Nov 22, 2006 5:26 am

I visited the library few days ago, and I got the foolowing ECM albums from "Thrid Stream" category:

Jacques Loussier Trio "Baroque Favorites"
Terje Rypdal "Lux Aeterna"
Trygve Seim "Sangam"

Been listening the last of mentioned, and there are very slow, melancholic, beautiful and impressionistic sound entities slowly moving here! There are lots of winds + a string ensemble, and the record fuses classic jazz and classical music in an interesteing and pleasant way!

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