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Hit Couleurs JAZZ

From a forty-something guitarist like Hugo Lippi, you’d expect his influences to include the quartet of contemporary guitar exponents who make up John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell and the late John Abercrombie, some twenty years his seniors.

This is to overlook the fact that, alongside this modern six-string superhighway, there’s a long-lived tradition of guitarists who are both great melodists and harmonically sophisticated players, such as Philip Catherine and George Benson. As far as Hugo Lippi is concerned, particularly on this absolute solo album where he lays bare his aesthetic, the origins of his playing lie somewhere between Joe Pass and Jim Hall.

There’s nothing old-fashioned here, just the affirmation that this way of approaching the guitar is perfectly timeless and continues to delight lovers of the instrument and, more generally, fans of fine music. The hallmarks of this approach are a crystal-clear sound that resembles an acoustic guitar, without the electronic effects permitted by pedals and other gimmicks.

At the same time, Lippi has chosen a repertoire that includes a number of themes with cantabile melodies, and even songs: from Thad Jones’ “A Child is Born” to the Beatles’ “Girl”, not forgetting Paul Desmond’s “Bossa Antigua” (which already featured Jim Hall) or the unsinkable “All the Things You Are” which, although covered by a host of instrumentalists – including many guitarists – finds an invigorating reading under Lippi‘s fingers.

The guitarist also varies his techniques – from single notes to chords and arpeggios – without ever seeking virtuoso demonstration, but always at the service of musicality. So, this is both an album for guitar lovers and a musician’s opus whose art transcends the instrument to reach a universal vision of six-string playing.

A highly recommendable undertaking!

Reflections in B is a “Hit Couleurs Jazz” and was part of ‘The Best of The Month” selection.

It was released on January 26, 2024 by Musicians Only / Caramba Records.

©Header photo by Patrick Martineau/JzzM





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