Brad Hoyt's new release features a brand new collection of original music that combines the talents of top-tier harp guitarists (9 this time, including Brad) and acoustic guitarists such as Phil Keaggy, Don Alder and Trevor Gordon Hall with jazz virtuosos Howard Levy (harmonica), Jeff Coffin (sax and flute), Joscho Stephan (gypsy jazz guitar prodigy), Tomas Mach (violin), Michael Manring (bass) and a wide variety of excellent players on cello, flute, oboe, clarinet, bass, guitar, nyckelharpa and percussion. A mind-blowing mix!
Tracks/Personnel/Instrumentation (Click titles for sound samples)
1. The Relative Sea
2. Sharper’s Revenge
3. Impossible Liaison
4. Look Inside
5. Kiss of Fate
8. Restive Nocturne
10. Far Away From Everyday
11. Beneath the Iron Gate
13. Sometimes You Just Know
14. Alternate Timeline
I have to guiltily admit that I had a dream “co-producer” role on this second outing of my friend Brad Hoyt – namely, sitting back and watching as Brad invited one virtuoso player after another to join him on these recordings (I also had a dream player's gig, getting to perform on tunes featuring musical heroes Joscho Stephan and Stephen Bennett!).
This project was originally planned to be a natural progression and slightly more ambitious follow-up to Brad's Harp Guitar Music debut Together Alone, which featured his compositions arranged as piano and harp guitar duets. Meaning that, this time around, Brad would arrange his new pieces for piano and harp guitar along with some third instrument. And indeed, there are several trios. But after adding players like Howard Levy, Jeff Coffin, Phil Keaggy, Joscho Stephan and Michael Manring to the mix (each considered one of the absolute top players on their respective instruments), it became apparent that Brad would be going well beyond the initial framework that he set for himself. Add in another two dozen top guest performers, including many of the first CD's harp guitarists (Bennett and Andy Wahlberg also making an appearance this time), and you end up with some extremely interesting instrumental ensembles.
The result is most often a sort of “chamber jazz” – a unique blend of meticulously written arrangements and wild improvisation. The tunes are all brand-new (and brilliant) compositions of Brad's, full of his trademark melody, chromaticism and harmonic shifts, and ranging from poignant ballads to funked-up acoustic music and gypsy jazz.
Incidentally, bandleader Brad more than holds his own as a player amidst all these virtuosos, playing his intricate 30-string arpa viola caipira “folk harp guitar” on five tracks, while showing more sonic variety and virtuosity on keyboard than ever before. - Gregg Miner