San Francisco-based musician and composer, Lawrence Blatt, plays an impressive myriad of both acoustic and electric guitars on his latest album, ‘Longitudes & Latitudes’. Produced by Will Ackerman and recorded at his own Imaginary Road studios in Vermont, Ackerman also lends both acoustic and electric guitars on a few of the compositions. Also joining the musical line-up are Jeff Haynes on percussion, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn and trumpet, Premik Russell Tubbs on electric woodwind and saxophone, Sam Bevan on bass, Eugene Friesen on cello, Charlie Bisharat on violin, and both Kori Linae Carothers and Kelly Park on piano, as well as several others.

A lively mood introduces “Two Shades of Sunshine”, which is carried along by strumming acoustic guitar and a lead saxophone melody, as the composition is additionally joined by piano, organ, percussion and bass. Celebratory and upbeat, the piece combines elements of smooth jazz, acoustic Americana and contemporary instrumental in a blending of styles that characterizes much of the album. The carefree and leisurely “Longitudes and Latitudes” follows next, which is easily one of my favorites. Seasoned with a Bossa Nova flavor, the song is guided by a lovely melody of both acoustic and electric guitar which are joined by piano courtesy of Kelly Park, along with bass and percussion. “Open Fields and Running Water” is also a particular highlight featuring both acoustic and electric guitars, as well as Jeff Oster on flugelhorn and Kori Linae Carothers on piano. “Morning in Beerse” is one of two interlude-like tracks (the other being “The Places Left Behind) which showcase acoustic guitar solos that make for welcoming gentle pauses. “Upon Griffy Lake” is another personal favorite, once again highlighting both acoustic and electric guitars. Here Eugene Friesen additionally provides cello, as Noah Wilding’s wordless airy vocals likewise grace this reflective and gently rhythmic piece. I’m also quite fond of “Park Lane”, a cozily warm and comforting piece that reminds me of taking a refreshing evening stroll. In addition to guitars, piano and percussion, we’re once again treated to flugelhorn courtesy of Jeff Oster, as well as muted trumpet. The savory flamenco-flavored, “Noches de Barcelona”, is potentially the album’s most captivating moment, which feels like travelling back in time to a romantic destination located by the seaside. Here Lawrence plays nylon-stringed and baritone guitars, as well as Charengo (a small Andean stringed instrument), where he is additionally joined by a lively ensemble of piano, violin, trumpet, saxophone, bass and percussion. Winding things down is a solo ukulele rendition of Harold Arlen’s “Over the Rainbow”. Peaceful, innocent and lullaby-like, Lawrence’s beautiful reinterpretation of this much beloved classic feels like being gently tucked into bed.

Inspired by a love of global travel, including some of his favorite places around the world, Lawrence Blatt and company have highlighted a diverse range of musical styles throughout these fifteen compositions. Sure to appeal to many avid guitar fans, ‘Longitudes & Latitudes’ is a thoroughly enjoyable contemporary instrumental album defined by both lively festivities and tender moments of reflection! ~Candice Michelle

Links & Purchase: AmazoniTunes, CDBaby, Lawrence Blatt

Comments

October 10, 2016 @01:32 am
Excellent review, Candice, I agree Lawrence shows wonderful range in his composing and playing!
Beth Hilton

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