Monday, 28 November 2016

Ralph Towner - Solstice: Sound And Shadows (1977)

The last two postings of ECM guitarists both went down well, so here's a third; a third American as well, in Washingtonian Ralph Towner.  Towner's trademark sound, based on chiming 12-string guitars and nylon-string guitars more classical in leaning than jazz, was always going to be a great fit when placed among one of ECM's Nordic crack teams.  So when he was matched up with Jan Garbarek, Eberhard Weber and Jon Christensen for 1975's Solstice, an instant classic was born, and this lesser-known sequel from two years later deserves equal appreciation.

Five fairly lengthy tracks here, giving each player a chance to shine and these rambling, autumnal pieces room to roam.  Distant Hills is the perfect opener, with soft-focus layers of Towner's guitars, stately Garbarek solos, and a subtle underpinning from Weber and Christensen.  For all his guitar genius, it shouldn't be forgotten how good a pianist Towner is as well, and Arion, a definite highlight for me, shows it beautifully.

Solstice: Sound And Shadows


  1. Nice one. Like it even more than Solstice 1974. Thank you for sharing.