V.S.O.P. #70 LP Mode 126 AL VIOLA: SOLO GUITAR
AL VIOLA (guitar)
Recorded: September, 1957, Hollywood, CA. Engineer: Bones Howe; Liner Notes: Joe Quinn; Producer: Red Clyde; Cover Portrait: Eva Diana.
Recorded in September, 1957, Al Viola's first recording as leader was made at Radio Recorder's for Mode producer Red Clyde. Al Viola had started his remarkable recording career with Page Cavanaugh's date for Encore Records in 1946, and went on to an incredibly productive lifetime of work that is almost unrivaled for the number of recordings on which he appears. There is probably not a single Frank Sinatra recording on Reprise Records that does not include Al Viola's playing. He is on most of the classic dates recorded by Julie London and June Christy. He is also on many Buddy Collette dates. These alone would be a significant accomplishment for any jazz musician. However, in Al Viola's case, they barely scratch the surface of his work with sound recordings. His soundtrack career is equally prolific. His mandolin playing on the Godfather theme is universally known.
This album is a bit different from the work Al Viola had been previously best known for. It features his playing an acoustic guitar without accompaniment employing primarily classical guitar techniques in the context of a jazz recording. This was something that Al Viola wanted very much to do and to this end had been attending the California Academy of Music studying classical guitar, harmony and theory. The album features eleven standards and a Bobby Troup original entitled "Nocturne". The method employed is difficult. In fact, each selection is arranged just as if it were performed by a group. To fully appreciate what is going on requires careful listening. Fortunately, this was a well recorded effort where every brush of the fingers on the strings and sound box are audible. Were it performed by anyone else, it may have turned to chaos. However, as Al does it, it proves to be not only an extremely enjoyable program but also a wonderful application of acoustic guitar technique and concepts to the modern jazz repertoire.
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Other sources for LP: City Hall Records