02. Kary’s Trance
03. Gypsy Girls
04. Texas Reel
05. Through the Alley
06. Church Hill Solo
07. Another Lisboa
08. A Night in Tblilisi
10. Have Mercy
11. The Rev’s Music
12. Poor Providence
13. Closing Time
14. Baden Baden
15. Warbasse Junction
Solos and duets featuring Danny Mallon, percussion / Brian Glassman, Bass / Charley Krachy, sax / Dave Keyes, piano
This set of fifteen acoustic guitar instrumentals from New York based Mann is one of his most adventurous and creative outings to date, where all but one track are original compositions. This is a very impressive and beautifully arranged set and he has surrounded himself with some sympathetic and highly skilled fellow performers.
Mann is a hugely gifted musician, as well as being a writer, producer and teacher, he is a seasoned performer with a guitar touch and tone that is distinctly his own. He is versed in a wide range of musical styles, including jazz and classical, having studied with the likes of Lennie Tristano, and the legendary Rev Gary Davis. Mann spent a number of years during the late sixties taking lessons from Rev. Davis and three titles pay homage to that great guitar maestro. With Have Mercy Mann inventively interprets the passionate Davis classic Death Don’t Have No Mercy creating a haunting melody backed by some evocative piano playing from Dave Keyes. There is some subtle percussion from Danny Mallon on The Rev’s Music where Mann combines two of Davis’s most popular songs Let Us Get Together and Going To Sit Down On The Bank of The River into one of the finest moments of this highly recommended set where Mann takes the tunes off into a uniquely inventive world of his own.
There are undertones of the infectious guitar playing of Lonnie Johnson on Through The Alley while the delicate picking on Backwoods performed on a resonator guitar have a timeless quality, but sadly they are two of the shortest titles being barely two minutes long! The longest title however is Warbasse Junction where Mann is joined by sax player Charlie Krachy to create an evocate atmosphere reminding me of the captivating late fifties sax style of Jimmy Giuffre. The blues guitar riff throughout this highly inventive title is truly engaging making this one of the very finest moments of this thoughtfully produced set.
There is some sparkling mandolin from Larry Wexer on Poor Providence and the Portuguese guitar playing from Mann on Closing Time adds an atmospheric and eerie quality. The bass playing from Brian Glassman and the drumming from Jeffrey Meyer are controlled and subtle throughout this session adding greatly to the enjoyment. There is no doubting that Mann is a consummate guitar player who is in a class all of his own. He has a vast knowledge, particularly of early blues and jazz styles, but he is very much a man of the moment who is willing to experiment and take chances as this set clearly illustrates. Mann is a regular visitor to Europe and recent tours have included Japan and Brazil.
Woody Mann describes Road Trip as a tribute to the places he has visited on recent tours, but this excellent instrumental set from one of most talented and eclectic fi ngerstyle guitarists on the scene can be heard, more metaphorically, as a recap of his musical journey. Mann has absorbed so many guitar styles that he can change moods on a dime, weaving lyrical single-string lines and chord harmonies that take his tunes across the musical divides between genres. “The Rev’s Music” is a tribute to his first great teacher, legendary bluesman Reverend Gary Davis, but Mann interprets Davis’ ideas through a jazz filter, giving the material a new perspective. “Kary’s Trance,” with saxophonist Charley Krachy, is a free-jazz exploration that brings to mind Mann’s other great teacher, the groundbreaking pianist Lennie Tristano. In Road Trip’s echoes of old-time banjo and classical guitar, sprightly Lonnie Johnson licks, and Latin themes, Mann makes good use of a bottomless bag of tricks. But for all his chops, he never showboats; everything he does serves the melody, a fact that his late teachers would certainly appreciate. By & © Ian Zack
“Mann has absorbed so many guitar styles that he can change moods on a dime, weaving lyrical single-string lines and chord harmonies that take his tunes across the musical divides between genres. Influenced early on by string-bending legends like Lonnie Johnson and Blind Blake along with the ragtime and Gospel blues of Reverend Gary Davis, Mann eventually developed an exceptionally animated and colorfully nuanced, blues-based style all his own.” – ACOUSTIC GUITAR MAGAZINE
“The mixing with the other great musicians in this set takes Woody’s rootsy style to a new level, expanding the traditions with his originality.” – BLUES AND RHYTHM MAG
“He nails very complicated stuff so cleanly that optimists will grab their guitars, thinking, ‘Hey, that’s humanly possible,’ while pessimists will get drunk and spread dark rumors about moral turpitude.” – MUSICIAN MAGAZINE
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