Joe Beck & Ali Ryerson


Direct Stream Digital CD

Django is a smooth, sophisicated duo recording Ali Ryerson made with her longtime collaborator, the noted guitarist and Woodbury resident, Joe Beck.   A much sought after arranger and composer, Beck was the first guitarist to record for Miles Davis when the jazz superstar went electric in the 1960s.   The guitarist/arranger has worked for such pop and jazz stars as Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Stan Getz, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Paul Simon and James Brown.   What makes this new duo recording unique is the subtle blend of Ryerson's alto flute (pitched lower than the conventional C-flute) and Beck's alto guitar.   Invented by Beck, the specially designed instrument is tuned so that he can play bass lines and chords simultaneously.   With its all-alto instrumentation, the duo, inevitably, had to call itself Alto.   Alto's sound is so surprising and individualistic that it can fool the ear with its orchestral chords and bass lines.   Initially you might think there was overdubbing on Django or that the duo had been beefed up with a bass player.   But there's no overdubbing and no stoaway bass player.   Nonetheless, one critic scolded the record company for not giving credit to the bass player on the duo's debut release, which was called "Alto."

Score one for Beck's invention

With its mellower, lower tones, quiet dynamics and natural harmonic bent for the lyrical and intimate, Alto exudes a classical chamber music aura.   At the same time, however, the duo retains the spontaniety of jazz.   Its new disc sounds pretty, even poetic, especially on standards like "People," "Tenderly" or "When I Fall in Love."   But for all its sweetnes and light, the album is untainted by saccharine, New Age sentiment.   It can even rise to the elegiac as it demonstrates on "Django," the title tune written by composer/pianist John Lewis as a requiem for the genius gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt.   Beck's resonant, dark and sometimes-mysterious chords create a magical mix with Ryerson's airy, expressive flute lines.   Because of its surprising, out-of-the-ordinary sound, one critic described Alto's music as "pleasantly from out of left field."   On this disc, Chick Corea's "Spain" is a small masterpiece with its haunting unison passages.   Ryerson's shimmering flute lines are a mini-ode to joy as they dance on Beck's bass lines and chords.

1.   People Make the World Go 'Round
2.   Laura
3.   Django
4.   Carioca Blue
5.   When I Fall In Love
6.   Spain
7.   Come Together / Alone Together
8.   Tenderly
9.   Hobo
10. It Takes Two
11. O Barquinho
12. Nardis
13. Danny Boy
Also available as a Multichannel Super Audio CD

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