The Gregory James Band - Reincarnation


The acoustic guitar is a very popular instrument. It plays a dominating role in modern instrumental music and contemporary jazz. Many acoustic guitar players are influenced by the flamenco music. The difference between a Flamenco guitar and a classical guitar is explained by Derek Hasted as followed:

"Many of the larger builders offer Classical and Flamenco Guitars. Flamenco Guitars often have a slightly smaller body so that they can be sat higher on the lap. They tend to have a teardrop scratch plate for the golpe and other percussive strokes. They tend to have a more percussive tone, in which the energy you put into the strings comes out louder, over a shorter period. This allows better articulation of the rasgueado and rhythmic strokes, together with a high degree of clarity when playing quickly."

"In contrast, the Classical guitar often has a larger soundbox - many now call themselves Concert Guitars. The sustain is better and the sound more mellow. But they can be a little woolly when playing Spanish music."

From time to time I have reported about albums of musicians with a certain affininity to the Flamenco music like Antonio Restucci, Peter White, Freddie Ravel, Obo, Marc Antoine, José Luis Encinas, Oscar Lopez and more. Gregory James is one of them. He plays Flamenco Blanca and Negra guitars. But he also finds inspiration in classical ethnic music of Northern India and in the music of Afro-Cuba, as well as the spirituality of Persian poetry. 

Gregory James music is unique. One can find on his albums elements of contemporary jazz, flamenco sound, urban grooves combined in a very individual style. Reincarnation, his newest release from 2001, bears witness for his creativity and originality.

Reincarnation means a fresh embodiment of a person. Especially in the believe of Buddism sin must be gradually worn away in a series of reincarnations upon earth. The title tune is mystic and fluid.

In contrast to this more aetherical piece stands the following For The Ride, on which Craig Easley is recitating from his poem "For Tony".

The same rhythm goes on Brain Melter. A funky bass plays a steady loop on which Gregory James expands his guitar solo.

On If Not Now, When? Gregory James reveals a beautiful flamenco flower, Baron Shul adds an intimate sax.

Are You Ready? is not a question, but anew the funky bass mixed with Gregory's Flamenco guitar sound quickly fading away. To combine scratching with drums and digital drums into a rhythm mélange is surprising.

On Between Two Worlds Catie Murphy reads from Shakespeare, Sonnet 14 and from Behind The Cage by Lulu Magdangal, Craig Easley reads from his poem Schizophrenia.

After this unique spoken words project Gregory's mellow dreamy acoustic guitar floods along in Blues For Chas on a rhythm background, which is bursting in hundreds sparkling tones.

Structures has a rhythmic frame buildt by drums and bass in which Gregory grounds an extensive guitar solo.

Nefertiti was the queen of ancient Egypt; wife of Ikhnaton(XVIII dynasty) and aunt of Tutankhamen. She seems to have been divorced by Ikhnaton late in his reign. The exquisite limestone bust of Nefertiti (Berlin Mus.) has given rise to the tradition that she was one of the ... Gregory perfectly catchs the charm and beauty of the ancient queen in his guitar music. Jenny Scheinman's violin intensifies the mystique.

The Awakening is a love poem by Rumi, read by Catie Murphy. This piece has a strong Indian character.

Bittersweet is a further love poem by Rumi, recited by Catie Murphy. Gregory plays the incidental music. Listening to this music words like transcendental and esotherical comes into my mind.

Las Dos (Rondena) , the final tune is a classical Flamenco piece. In the tradition of Ramon Montoya Gregory showcases anew his mastership on the Spanish guitar.

If you are a lover of this instrument and curious enough to listen to mysterious combinations of music challenging your brain, give this album a try.


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