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Bolivian Blues Bar

Alex de Grassi 10/19/1999
New age giant Narada Records has in recent years cultivated other genres like world beat/flamenco, Celtic, and good old-fashioned guitar fingerstyling. The concept here is can't miss. Grammy nominee De Grassi is one of the world's premier fingerstylists, and he's tackling solo -- putting a bluesy slant on -- the works of Ellington, Gershwin, Monk, Hoagy Carmichael, and others. If you are into improvisational solo guitar, this might just fascinate you. But 13 tracks of even some of the greatest tunes of all time -- including "Round Midnight," "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat," and "Georgia" -- can get a little repetitive and run together when there's no outside instrumentation. "The Man I Love," in particular, wanders a bit off the melody and gets too far into noodling territory. On the plus side, De Grassi does his best to try to keep things interesting by varying his tones; on "Georgia," he creates a slow seduction using a deep, low chordal tone throughout. Part of the problem is that his arrangements are often of the ballad variety, and this makes zippier tracks like "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" stand out like a crazed dancer amidst an all night waltz. Ironic as it sounds, De Grassi is most interesting on -- don't laugh -- the "Woody Woodpecker Theme," which allows him to pluck and dance around that famous riff. But isn't it strange when a cartoon theme stands out among new arrangements of such great classics? ~ Jonathan Widran
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  1. # Song Length
  2. 1 It Ain't Necessarily So PT4M28S
  3. 2 The Man I Love PT4M43S
  4. 3 Hey! Bo Diddley [Variations] PT4M8S
  5. 4 You Go to My Head PT4M24S
  6. 5 Little Rootie Tootie PT1M52S
  7. 6 You've Changed PT3M59S
  8. 7 Georgia on My Mind PT3M27S
  9. 8 Bess, You Is My Woman Now PT4M44S
  10. 9 Darn That Dream PT3M28S
  11. 10 Goodbye Pork Pie Hat PT3M35S
  12. 11 The Woody Woodpecker Song PT2M24S
  13. 12 Come Sunday PT3M22S
  14. 13 'Round Midnight PT3M53S

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