Gilbert Isbin – Red Wine
1. Happy at your doorstep - 2. Little wing - 3. Fleur’s dance - 4. Gequetst ben ic van binnen - 5. Simple pleasure - 6. Nuages - 7. Rencounter - 8. A handful of blues - 9. Fragile - 10. Deep and wide - 11. Emer - 12. Close - 13. Wonderwall - 14. As the light begins to pale -
Gilbert Isbin (guitars)
1. Rambles - Jenny Ivor - 26 June 2004
Belgian acoustic guitar player Gilbert Isbin presents his 12th album, Red Wine, which overall is a palatable experience with some strong and lasting notes. His style is a blend of influences: classical, jazz, freeform, blues and ethnic music. His 14 compositions are sometimes restful and other times the melody can be rather disturbing, but his skill on the guitar is unquestionable.
This is an album for anyone who is definitely fond of acoustic guitar music, rather than for those who don't mind listening to a bit now and then. It is a rich offering for those with the palate to appreciate his style and expression, but I found listening to the whole CD in one go somewhat overpowering -- and would prefer to have it on random shuffle play with a few others, even if they are all guitar music, just for a break in style.
Isbin can be quite intense for a non-guitarist listener, and his polyrythmic tendencies, for me, overshadowed the often lovely simpler base tune, when it could be discerned. I did enjoy it, and will listen to it many times again, but maybe I am not enough of an aficionado to fully appreciate Isbin's genius -- akin to your average person saying to a wine-expert that some rare vintage isn't bad with steak and chips!
If you really like acoustic guitar, or if you want to hear something different and original, then give Gilbert Isbin a try.
2. Acoustic Guitar Workshop.com (UK) - Steve Elliott
As with all great guitarists, you know immediately when Gilbert is at the strings. Case in point: there is a truly gorgeous instrumental version of "Little Wing" on this CD which is immediately identifiable as Hendrix, yet is stamped indelibly with the deft and imaginative Isbin feel and touch. Hendrix, I think, would have approved. After all, Jimmy was a past master himself at appropriating other people songs and making them his own.
The opening track Happy At Your Doorstep is another classic example of Gilbert Isbin's impressive and never obvious approach. It starts off with almost classical guitar figures, dancing intoxicatingly in high arpeggiated spirits, before the tune spins and veers off, taking you on a rollercoaster ride of rhythmic and chordal explorations and expositions.
Listening to "Red Wine" really is an exhilarating experience... strange voicings, insistent and driving chord clusters combined with intense rhythmic invention and hypnotic grooves, hybrid bebop, jazz and bluesy arabesques... Gilbert Isbin takes the guitar to places it has never been before. All 14 tracks on this excellent CD showcase a guitarist and composer at the top of his game. "Red Wine" is an invigorating brew, a testament to a truely gifted and original player.
Hats off to one of Fingerstyle's great pioneers.
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