Talk about variety.
Though the most you ever get on any track of the latest album, Dreamscape: Solo, Duo, Trio, from guitarist Freddie Bryant is three musicians, and often only the man himself, two of the three are multi-instrumentalists and they make good use of their multiple talents. On different tracks, Bryant plays a 12-string, an arch top, an electric and a nylon string. Not to be upstaged, man of all reeds, Chris Potter joins in on bass clarinet, tenor and soprano saxophone on four of the tracks, while poor Scott Colley limits himself to the acoustic bass, playing on five tracks.
Then there’s the repertoire: traditional spirituals and dreamlike originals, jazz standards and even a pop hit. Jazz mavens will flip over the guitarist’s lovely solo work with Monk’s “Ask Me Now” and his treatment of Charles Mingus’s “Goodbye Porkpie Hat.” He does an interesting job on the Herbie Hancock hit, “Watermelon Man,” and loops around a bossa nova take on the pop classic “Secret Love.” His work on the Bruno Martino ballad “Estate” is both lyrical and melancholy.
Colley joins the guitarist on “Vignette #1” and “Vignette #2,” with Bryant playing the classical guitar on the first and the electric on the second. Potter’s bass clarinet tells God all his troubles with haunting clarity in the duo version of that traditional spiritual, “I’m Going to Tell God All of My Troubles.” His other work is on the trio versions of Bryant originals “Every Day Is the End and the Beginning of Life Beautiful,” “Songs,” and the title song which opens the set, where he plays the soprano sax.
Perhaps the highlights of the album are Bryant’s performances of the classically inventive “Serenade” and what guitar virtuoso Gene Bertoncini calls in the liner notes an “amazing and haunting expression of love, his “Fantasia on a Theme by Charlie Haden: For Turiya.”
Dreamscape is an album in which Bryant, as he explains in the liner notes, has collected “pieces that draw from my dual love of classical and jazz guitar with inspirations from blues and standards to Spanish guitar and Brazilian rhythms,” a love generated by what he calls “the gift of music and song” from his parents. So, I shouldn’t forget, the album closes with a track from a 1974 concert where his mother, soprano Beatrice Rippy reprises the spiritual “I’m Going to Tell God All of My Troubles” by way of comparison with Bryant’s own duo arrangement earlier in the set. It is a fitting coda for an exciting album.[amazon template=iframe image&chan=default&asin=B00J5C9VRW,B009SDJJTI,B001GNWIF0,B0000250IB]