Suite Seasons

Seasons, recorded live at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, is a collaboration between a rising guitarist-composer, three of his guitar-virtuoso colleagues and a master guitar maker. The guitar maker, John Monteleone, commissioned this work for a quartet of acoustic instruments he built, each designed with a particular season in mind. Likewise, the music commissioned to be performed on these instruments, like Vivaldi’s famous suite, was inspired by seasonal moods and climates. Composer Wilson is best known for taking the guitar from its traditional jazz roles into wider context. Here, he writes without regard to category, bringing lyrical finesse and the kind of harmonic depth available only to this unique string quartet. His fellow guitarists are equally distinguished:  Steve Cardenas, who’s worked with a broad swath of musicians including Norah Jones, Paul McCandless and the late Paul Motian; Brazilian Chico Pinheiro who teamed with Wilson on the excellent 2007 recoding Nova; and Julian Lage, a recent member of vibraphonist Gary Burton’s quartet. The four combine on Wilson’s expressive material for a harmonically rich, intuitively agile sound. Their play is so seamless it’s as if Monteleone had designed a 24-stringed instrument and bred a 40-fingered virtuosos to play it. Each guitarist’s style is showcased in a seasons-inspired solo turn. An accompanying DVD documents the suite’s live performance and serves as a meditation on guitars, guitarists, and the composer’s craft. Watch, listen, and marvel.   —Cabbage Rabbit


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