Judy Handler and Mark Levesque, Lino, and Adrian Legg guitar virtuosos!
Guitars - bass, electric, jazz, classical, steel guitars using 4 strings, 6 strings, 12 strings playing genres of pop, rock, jazz, classical, rhythm and blues, punk, funk, international, Latin, swing and country, and this is just the tip of the iceberg, as they say, for combinations and variations that are possible. I appreciate all types of musicians and music, and I respect the time, energy and focus that is required to be polished at your skill. I have tried the guitar, and I know that I will return to spend the proper amount of time required to become proficient with the instrument, but don’t hold your breath on a concert; so I appreciate the elements essential to becoming a musician, as well as the pure excitement of playing and hearing music flow off the strings.
This month’s Music Scene takes a look at 4 releases of guitar music that cover rock, Brazilian, swing, Latin, acoustic, electric, classical, jazz, contemporary new age, and other international; it truly shows the diversity that this instrument has in the hands of passionate professional musicians.
The first two releases are from a husband and wife duo, Judy Handler and Mark Levesque, who I first heard backing up Cyntia M. at a concert. Acknowledgement of their superb musicianship at the concert lead to a discussion of their other musical outlets, and that lead to an opportunity to review their 2 releases – Acoustic Blend and Two Guitars Live!; information on both releases may be found on Judy Handler and Mark Levesque. Judy and Mark are extraordinary professionals who exude energy and musical passion on their releases, as well as their live performances. Judy plays guitar and has her roots in classical, though her talents and love of all things music take her across all the genres; Mark also plays guitar (classical, jazz archtop, 12 string, electric and gypsy guitar) and several types of mandolin. Separately they are exciting musicians; together they are a powerful force of sound, showmanship, and music. The 2 releases provide a glimpse into their talents with a cross-selection of genres as well as studio and live tracks, but if you have the time, you have to see this duo live to appreciate the essence of Judy Handler and Mark Levesque. Their first release Acoustic Blend contains diversity from Que Pasa? (Dutch Gypsy), Stompin’ at the Savoy (American), Chiquita (Brazilian), Muriel (Original), Boys of Bluehill (Irish), La Partida (Venezuelan), Lonely Accordion (Russian), Le Fenêtre (French Gypsy) to Lisandre (French Canadian). Each track has its own unique elements of composition and diversity, which the talents and interpretation of Judy and Mark make come alive on the release. Their second release Two Guitars Live! takes the elements of guitar playing to a new level, the live performance, where their spontaneity and energy can be felt. This release also showcases their cross-genre talents as they play an assortment of international songs changing tempo, interpretation and feel from song-to-song to ensure that the feel and sound is true to the original elements, but you never lose the Judy and Mark energy. Tracks include: Brasileirinho (Brazilian), Bei Mir Bist Du Schön (German), El Choclo (South American), Bésame Mucho (Mexican), I Can’t Give You Anything But Love ( jazz), and Malagueña (Spanish) to list a few of the international flavors of this release.
Switching strings, I bring you the talented songwriter Lino and his release entitled Return to Avalon. This is a release that is filled with original music by Lino such as Wings, and Salsa Ã¡ la Mode, which are my 2 favorite tracks on this release though this is a great compilation of songs, along with Return to Avalon, Moonlight, Intermission in A Minor, Sunset View, Alma de Caballo, Separate Peace, and Bright Inside that round out the original tracks; in addition there are covers of Divertimento No. 1 in D Major Allegro (W. A. Mozart), and You Belong To Me (P.W. King, C. Price, R. Stewart). You can hear the influences of many genres (acoustic, classical, jazz, Latin, and contemporary new age) throughout the original Lino compilations, which has become known as “Lino Music”. This is a release that must be heard to understand how anyone could blend the sounds and elements of the various genres as Lino does. Lino started playing classical guitar at 9 and moved in to the rock genre before attending college and acquiring a degree in History and a degree in Pre-Med, but his talents and drive took him back into composing and playing guitar, for which we will be forever thankful.
What I love about the guitar is its versatility and its constantly evolving environment, which leads me to my final look at guitar players and the songwriter and guitar extraordinaire Adrian Legg and his release entitled [inheritance]. The release is 11 original songs from a master of the acoustic guitar, a person whose fusion of sound pulls not only from different genres, but from many styles, and external influences nurtured while he was growing up in London. Adrian Legg is a musician who has created a sound that is unique, whimsical, bold, powerful, and fresh. It has been written, and I have heard from musicians, that it is the live setting that distinguishes Adrian Legg and his music; I have not had the pleasure to experience Adrian Legg live, but I found [inheritance] exhilarating to listen to. The release mixes rock, blues and ballads (Nefertiti- What a Sweetie, My Blackbird Sings All Night, More Fun In The Swamp, Nail Talk, English Blue, and The Good Soldier) and some jams and folk sounds (A Waltz for Leah, Doublejigs, Psalm With No Words, Decree, and Emneth), to show the depth and level of understanding that Adrian has of music, the guitar and performing. Even through the titles of the tracks you can see his feel for configuring an experience of the title with the image and sound of the music.
Note – Music Scene is not sponsored by any third party. All music that is written about in Music Scene are the views and experiences of the writer, and reflects a compilation of music, sent to us by musicians, acquired during travel to unique destinations, recommended by our country host or a local resident, or just happening upon a music event, or searching out a Jazz club, or other live music venue.
© October 2005. Luxury Experience www.luxuryexperience.com All rights reserved.