With a catalog that boasts such top-drawer acoustic pickers as Laurence Juber, Tommy Emmanuel, Ed Gerhard, and Pat Donahue, Solid Air hit on a format of having a dozen or so guitarists contributing tracks to a central theme. These have included the music of Leiber and Stoller, Cole Porter, Elvis, and Henry Mancini, which won a Grammy. It might smack of gimmickry if the quality weren’t so high and the individuals’ arrangements so interesting.
Ripe for such treatment, of course, is the music of Burt Bacharach. Most are solo performances, although Wayne Johnson is double-tracked on the beautiful bossa nova “The Look Of Love,” and “Casino Royale” features a duet by Doug Smith and Mark Hanson that borders on Baroque. Hanson also explores the possibilities of “Walk On By”; Juber delivers stunning performances of “Alfie” and the title tune; and Emmanuel leaves pyrotechnics behind for a lovely reading of “Close To You.”
The only criticism is that Hal David’s name is nowhere to be found. Even though these are instrumental renditions, it’s his lyrics that you find yourself singing in your head as you listen to the inseparable melodies.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s December ’14 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.