Anton Machleder – Non Solus: Music Of The New World
Red Creek Studio
16 songs – 68 minutes
Here’s an album that’s considerably different from most of the CDs reviewed on this website. It’s an eclectic combination of blues-flavored classical, straight-ahead blues, jazz and world music delivered by someone who’s both a gifted concert guitarist and a highly respected college professor.
Anton Machleder is a familiar face as a soloist on the chamber music circuit in addition to serving as an assistant professor of guitar at Houghton College’s Greatbatch School Of Music in Caneadea, N.Y., and also teaching the instrument and the history of rock at nearby Monroe Community College.
A former student of three of the most important luminaries on classical six-string – Jeffrey Goodman, Ronald Pursell and Manuel Barrueco, he made he’s played Carnegie Hall and is skilled in classical, flamenco and synth guitar in addition to blues-related electric and acoustic stylings.
He produced and recorded Non Solus, which translates from Latin to mean “alone by oneself,” at his studio in Rochester, N.Y. It’s the third album in his catalog. He’s assisted here by Nicholas Goluses, Rez Abbasi and Marty Lofaso (guitar), John Nyerges (keyboards), Hye Sung Choe (flute), Omar Faruk Tekbilek (ney, a Middle Eastern flute), Philip Borter (cello), Wayne Naylor (bass), Mike Plouffe (drums). Guitarist Dan Schmitt features prominently, too, in addition to providing vocals for all of the blues cuts. Katie Halligan and Breyana Lanay provide vocals on one cut.
Four instrumental classical numbers — Astor Piazzolla’s “Histoire Du Tango” in two parts, “Café 1930” and “Nightclub 1960” and Radames Gnattali’s “Sonata For Cello And Guitar” in two parts, “Allegretto Comodo” and “Adagio” – begin the action. The former feature a duet with Choe have some blues overtones since they’re written in a minor key. Machleder is unhurried as he delivers sweet single-note runs amid chording. The latter pair Machleder with Borter and are much more formal for blues lovers.
“Other Tones,” a minor-key jazz pairing written by and features Abbasi, is up next before the first blues number, Machleder’s original, “Gypsy Dance.” Featuring the ladies on vocals, it’s quite an aural departure with its full-band arrangement and breezy feel.
Six instrumentals follow. The texture changes to World Music for the originals, “Bells Over The Genesee: Omar’s Lament” and “Locrian Canon” before a pair of classical samplings — Rodolfo Hernandez’s “Cantos Guajiros” and Hector Angulo’s “Homenaje Al Bongo, Sonera.” The blues start kicking in full force when Machleder’s guitar replaces the horn for an interesting cover of Miles Davis’ 1959 classic “All Blues,” followed by Luiz Bonfa’s samba “Black Orpheus.”
The album concludes with a four-tune blues set, all featuring Schmitt, who leads his own band in the Rochester area, on vocals: Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” T-Bone Walker’s “T-Bone Shuffle,” Howlin’ Wolf’s “Who’s Been Talking” and Magic Sam’s “You Belong To Me.”
Available through Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby and other retailers, this one’s definitely targeted for folks with adventurous listening habits. I enjoyed it. Machleder’s an excellent musician no matter the format. But if you’re stuck in the rut of the old one-four-five, you’ll probably be disappointed.
Additional note: although richly annotated inside, the front of the CD, which won a Global Music Award, fails to credit Machleder.