Bill Connors: Theme To The Guardian (ECM 1057)

Bill Connors
Theme To The Guardian

Bill Connors guitar
Recorded November 1974 at Arne Bendiksen Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Guitarist Bill Connors famously left Chick Corea’s Return to Forever outfit (for which he had provided dynamic electric stylings) in 1974, making the switch to acoustic and recording this, his first solo album. Not one year later he would launch into an intensive period of self-directed study, making Theme To The Guardian an even more remarkable effort for the fact that he had had virtually no classical training to speak of before stepping into the studio. Using a technique and mood all his own, Connors overdubs his way through a soothing and soulful set of guitar-scapes. With a gossamer sound, he works his strings with gentle assurance. The melodic lines are purpose-driven and secure, all the while elastic enough to bear the weight of their implications. The rhythms are generally laid back, the leads as bright as they are ephemeral. Time seems to slow down, waiting for a chime that never sounds to snap itself back into awareness. While listening to this album, every track bleeds into the next, so that the end leaves one with a blurry memory of something beautiful. The recording is buttery soft, just close enough to hear every finger scraping on strings while far enough away to court reverb’s gentler incarnations. Connors’s legato stylings are sure to sooth and inspire and will complement any Ralph Towner solos in one’s collection in need of some righteous companionship.

At only 40 minutes long, this is an album you will want to listen to again the moment it ends.

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