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MP3 Neil Janssen, Jim Lichens - Solo Flight

This album is a tastefully executed collection of Jazz standards in a guitar duo setting.

13 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Bebop, JAZZ: Traditional Jazz Combo

This CD contains some fine playing and is beautifully produced and packaged. Neil and Jim are an exceptional duo who play as a single instrument, each guitarist staying within well defined roles, Neil on solo guitar and Jim on rhythm. They are extremely sensitive musicians with an uncanny rapport which enabled them to concentrate exclusively upon the totality of the end result; There''s no egocentric competition in this duo. Jim tips his hat to the masters by quoting large fragments of their solos e.g. Garland''s tasteful workout on "Relaxin''" from Jazz Winds and Montgomery''s sensuous "Old Folks" from Montgomeryland. Other tracks include "Solo Flight", "After You''ve Gone" and "Gone With The Wind". Recommended to all those lucky enough to find it!.

Reviewed by Adrian Ingram
(Just Jazz Guitar Magazine)

Nowadays the rhythm guitar in Jazz has been pretty much relegated to the role of a color instrument. Happily, guitarists Lichens and Janssen have put together an album where the rhythm guitar is used the way it ought to be, in direct support of the lead instrument. Let me try to illustrate what makes their combined sound so nice by contrasting it to the more familiar sound of a solo guitar album. The solo guitarist must regularly interrupt his melodic lines, albeit for just a moment in time, to quickly play a rhythmic insert. He necessarily has to do this to make his music sound "whole". But from the listener''s standpoint, they can become recurrent disruptions in the flow of the music. Here, with Lichens providing the rhythmic support, Janssen, who plays the lead, is free to create and tailor his lines to whatever the tune inspires him to do. That''s especially significant given the diversity of tunes they''ve chosen to perform - some Charlie Parker bebop and Charlie Christian pre-bop, some song standards and Jazz standards, and fittingly for an album with the rhythm guitar, a number from the Basie band book. Speaking of which, Lichens does far more than just comp chords. He complements and enhances Janssen''s playing, sometimes inserting rhythmic place markers, sometimes with a moving bass line and other times with an appropriate harmony. As I said, the art of rhythm guitar playing has now become something of a preservationist craft. But these two guitarists have crafted a nicely done, modern sounding piece of work.

Reviewed by: Chris Kelsey

This is one of those recordings you fall in love with from the first note. If you want to know what classic jazz guitar is, there are few better representations than this CD. Loaded with all my favorite standards, like My One And Only Love, Stella, Sandu, After You''ve Gone, and tons more, this is a joy to listen to.
Janssen does almost all of the solo work, while Lichens dutifully and artfully comps. The contrast in their guitar tones is apt, with Janssen using a warm amplified tone and Lichens relying on a more acoustic sound. I''m not sure what guitars they were playing on this date, but the jacket photo shows a Super 400, L-5CES and a Byrdland. Can''t make a bad choice there!
The guitar duo format has always been a favorite for me, and this CD shows why. Not only can you enjoy what you hear, but you can easily study it. The playing on this CD is textbook traditional jazz guitar and is easily dissected. Lichens'' comping is in a style that you don''t hear that much anymore and it''s good that it is so faithfully recorded on this disc. I recommend to new players to pick this up just to hear how rhythm jazz guitar should be played.
Janssen''s bebop soloing is first rate, reminiscent of Joe Pass and Tal Farlow. What really comes through to me is his absolute love of playing the guitar. It''s infectuous, as every time I listen to this CD (and I listen to it often) I get in the mood to practice. Not much else I can say. You old duffers out there will love hearing the great tunes on this disc, and the young players will hear how it should be done.

Reviewed by: Bob Patterson (Jazz Guitar Online)

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