This drew me in helplessly.
Well-travelled London-born guitarist Steve Garrett makes his charming solo debut album here. Full of astute choices of material delivered in a stripped down solo electric guitar setting beginning with Magnus Öström’s ‘Ballad for E’ plus Peter Gabriel, Huw Warren and Bruce Cockburn material and his own tunes, notably the poised and rather beautiful title track kept to the end.
Garrett has arranged the material and done a good job with it in terms of communicating each piece. I certainly lit up inside when I heard ‘Mercy Street’ the Peter Gabriel tune from the 1980s overshadowed on So by the monstrous success of ‘Sledgehammer’ and ‘Don’t Give Up’, the latter successfully brought into the jazz sphere in recent years by Herbie Hancock on The Imagine Project. I wasn’t so keen though on the distant Renaissance atmosphere of ‘Remember Me My Dear.’
But it’s the intent rather than repertoire really and the mood as well as the sincerity of approach that counts. And for me certainly Garrett has achieved a lot really in these areas, zoning in on the Bill Frisell or Ralph Towner domain on the jazzier material so accurately and positively, even though there isn’t a great deal of improvisation. Garrett goes folky on his own tune ‘Call’ segueing into ‘Black is the Colour’ (the latter recently covered to marvellous effect by Ríoghnach Connolly on The Aviators' Ball). Well worth discovering. SG