PETE OXLEY — Pete Oxley & Nicolas Meier : Chasing Tales (review)

PETE OXLEY — Pete Oxley & Nicolas Meier : Chasing Tales album cover Album · 2015 · Post-Fusion Contemporary Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
js
“Chasing Tales” was released earlier this year on MGP Records, and it seemed to slip beneath the radar and not get the attention it deserved, which is a shame because fans of guitar picking duos may find this to be one of the top albums of the year. Hopefully this album’s re-release on MoonJune might help bring the recognition this CD deserves. The interplay between Pete Oxley and Nicolar Meier, as they field a variety of string instruments centered around nylon string guitar and clean tone jazz guitar, is incredible as they sound very much like one mind. This album is the exact opposite of those sort of chest-beating acoustic guitar extravagances fueled by the likes of Dimeola and McLaughlin, there are no furious trade off solos on here, instead, you get music made through sensitive interplay and co-operation.

The guitar sound on here is of the softer variety, along the lines of Jim Hall, George Benson and Pat Methany, but just like those three mentioned virtuosos, the light tone does not imply light content, instead, this music is complex and holds up very well to many repeat listens. Oxley and Meir display many sources in creating their thick tapestries, besides modern jazz mixes of fusion and post bop, they also pull from art pop, middle eastern music and folk derived finger picking. They share writing duties, with Oxley’s tunes favoring abstract jazz, while Meir leans towards more forthright melodic material. Their compositions tend to alternate in sequence which makes for a great blend. These are all original compositions, and they are for the most part excellent, very original and personal, but two tracks don't seem to fit. "The Bridge" uses a nasal guitar synth sound that doesn't seem to fit the rest of the album, and "Breezin On" uses 'humorous' vocoder vocals that fit even less, but the rest of the album is superb.

Although labeled a contemporary jazz album, “Chasing Tales” probably has appeal far beyond just a jazz audience. Fans of world fusion acoustic guitar summits such as Strunz and Farah will probably enjoy this, as well as fans of that whole acoustic guitar world that includes new grass, Leo Kotke followers and David Grisman's ‘dawg music’. The interplay on here is very special and the compositions are fresh and inventive, hopefully this album will get the attention it deserves.
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