Steve Erquiaga Café Paradiso
Imaginary Road Records
825 Eighth Street, New York, NY 10019
These luscious and tasty classic/jazz crossovers are arranged
and played by guitarist Steve Erquiaga, who you may have
heard on his Windham Hill album "Erkiology", the Windham
Hill compilations "Winter Solstice ,III, IV & V", or on the
IRR compilations "A Different Mozart" and "A Winter's Night."
Among the standouts in my vinyl collection (in storage) is a rare
direct-to-disc recording by a group called the Guitar Quarvetten.
I don't know if I spelled their name right, but I sure remember
the smoothness of their sound and the pulsing vitality of their
arrangements. Through layers of recording, Erquiaga's captured
a rare essence: silken sounds and a wellspring of soulful phrasing
that polishes the classics to a contemporary sheen.
"Presto," from Bach's Violin Sonata No.1 begins the album with
a flurry of notes, Morse code in their intensity; Erquiaga gradually
strings up melody fragments until the sonata's opening arpeggio
burst open like a flower. Bach's "Prelude in C Minor" from the
Well-Tempered Clavier" has the complex voices of an organ work.
Most of the pieces have a velvety, romantic flair: Faure's "Sicilienne"
and "After a Dream," two preludes by Chopin, Rachmaninof's passionate
"Serenade," Ravel's "Pavanne for a Dead Princess," and two themes
from Ennio Morricone's "Cinema Paradiso." Two Erquiaga originals have
Latin passions. The smoldering "Under the Tuscan Sun" would woo any
gal's heart. Sound quality? Impeccable. Ravishing album!
(New Age Voice)
New Age Voice
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