Title - Magnificent [3CD]
Artist - Nicolas Meier World Group
For those unaware, even in a globally-intimate music world long accustomed to cross-cultural hybrids, the adventures of Nicolas Meier, the elegantly skillful and stylistically agile guitarist, composer, and bandleader from Switzerland, turns heads.
Meier, whose triple-album Magnificent (which includes the new album Magnificent, along with the recently released Stories and a rather wondrous live performance from 2020 also) is released this month (promoted and marketed by MoonJune Music), and who is back on the road into 2022 with his four-piece World Group, starts his appeal from an ever-alluring source Ė pretty tunes.
Like his early hero, Pat Metheny, Meier loves catchy songlike melody wherever it comes from, and that open-handedly communicative quality has infused his music from the start, and still does.
But he also hears the traditions of jazz guitar (which he absorbed from that most influential of oracles, Bostonís Berklee College) in seamless harmony with Anatolian and Middle Eastern music, western rock, flamenco, tango, and much else.
CD 1 - Magnificent:
1. Mesudiye (6:40)
2. Semurís Bridge (6:19)
3. Hip (6:20)
4. Stories From The Garden (7:39)
5. Sous le ciel de Fribourg (5:03)
6. Villa Olivio (7:32)
7. The Pond (6:48)
8. Under An Olive Tree (8:25)
The new album Magnificent is again music taken from many of Meierís travels, listening to different folk music - such as Spanish, Turkish, Balkanic, Middle-eastern, North African, and South American - all in an improvised musical constraint.
Here on this new album we enjoy the sound of Nicolasí guitars (glissentar, fretted and fretless nylon strings, 12 strings) all with the sound of the violin, accompanied with a strong rhythm from Demi Garcia and Kevin Glasgow.
This stunningly opulent album opens on the leisurely stride on the Black Sea-inspired Mesudiye (a portrayal of Turkish street music) and the beautiful gossamer of Semurís Bridge and backs those up seamlessly with the gentle one-two ebb and flow of Hip, the atmospheric, and aptly-named Stories From The Garden, the dulcet ambiance of Sous le ciel de Fribourg, and then we get the magnificently rhythmic Villa Olivio, the album rounding out on the softly-played, guitar-enabled majesties of The Pond, closing on the upbeat and perky hipsway of Under An Olive Tree.
CD 2 - Stories:
1. La Vie en Rose (3:16)
2. Blues for Alice (2:31)
3. The Godfather (3:42)
4. Kismet (6:04)
5. Mona Lisa (3:23)
6. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat / Brush with the Blues (3:19)
7. My Foolish Heart (2:27)
8. October In Ankara (4:51)
9. Nothing Else Matters (3:43)
10. Cíest si Bon (2:47)
11. Sous le Ciel de Fribourg (3:27)
12. Night & Day (3:06)
13. Stories From The Garden (4:20)
14. Esmeralda (4:07)
In addition to the recent release from Nicolas Meier | Dewa Budjana Groupís Flying Spirits, guitarist Nicolas Meier has also released an independent solo guitar album titled, Stories.
Stories is made of original music and lots of covers like La Vie en Rose, music from The Godfather, Night & Day, Blues for Alice, Mona Lisa, Jeff Beckís Brush with the Blues and even Metallicaís Nothing Else Matters.
Opening on the quite stunning La Vie en Rose and the warmly-rounded dancefloor rhythms of Charlie Parkerís Blues for Alice, they are backed by the sterner percussion work of both Nino Rotaís underscore to The Godfather and the 1911 musical Kismet, the lighter, airier fare of Mona Lisa, the cultured brilliance of Charles Mingusí Lester Young tribute Goodbye Pork Pie Hat / Brush with the Blues and then we get one of my own personal favorites, the sumptuous work of My Foolish Heart.
The at-times gently frenetic guitar work of October In Ankara is along next and is followed by a mind-blowingly, intricately created and articulate Nothing Else Matters (Metallica), which in turn is backed by the summerís breeze of Cíest si Bon, the rich textures of Sous le Ciel de Fribourg, the upbeat and vibrant Night & Day, the album coming to a close on the low bass-tonal, Eastern-imbibed Stories From The Garden, and the intriguing ambiance of Esmeralda.
CD 3 - Live:
1. Manzanita Samba (8:19)
2. Besiktas Cafe (5:50)
3. Caravan Of Anatolia (9:45)
4. City Of The 3 Rivers (9:06)
5. Riversides (8:45)
6. Princeís Island (7:54)
7. Water Lillies (8:19)
8. Tales (6:14)
9. Adiguzel (9:28)
The band played a wonderful concert on February 16th 2020 in Colchester Arts Centre Jazz Club, UK and luckily for all fans it was filmed and recorded. It is now included here in audio form as the third CD of the package.
This live album opens on the mesmerizingly ornate complexities of the dulcet hipsway found within the easygoing glide of Meierís shifts across the chords on Manzanita Samba and the free flowing rhythms of Besiktas Cafe and follows those up with the Eastern-imbued Caravan Of Anatolia, the gently flowing, dreamy sway recreation of an Iberian heat-haze mingle within City Of The 3 Rivers, the mid-tempo lush orchestrations of Riversides, the quietly passive, for the most part, yet growing in stature as the track progresses Princeís Island, the mesmerizingly luxuriant melodies of Water Lillies, the third and final album rounding out on the gentle flow and tailored bounce of Tales, coming to a close on the gently frenetic (inclusive of a whirling Turkish dance section), yet always impassioned Adiguzel.
The collection often suggests a wellspring of ideas and experiences in Nicolas Meierís head and fingers that had been waiting for an opportunity to burst out.
But it was an unexpected lockdown experience that focused the energies to make it happen, when the guitarist rediscovered the social role of music-making no further from home than his own back garden.
NICOLAS MEIER - Acoustic fretless and fretted nylon string string guitars, glissentar and 12 string guitar
DEMI GARCIA Ė Percussion
KEVIN GLASGOW Ė Bass
RICHARD JONES - Violin
Official Purchase Link