STEVE HANCOFF - ACOUSTIC GUITAR - JAZZ GUITAR - DUKE ELLINGTON - "Eclectic Earwig Reviews Music and More for You!"
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Steve Hancoff: Duke Ellington for Solo Guitar (CD, 55:15) DGM0049
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The saying goes that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in the
case of Steve Hancoff’s Duke Ellington for Solo Guitar that actually
is an excellent way to determine whether this CD is your cup of tea.
Technically, I could probably write this review in one sentence: “If you
like Duke Ellington, and you like acoustic guitar, you will like this
release”.  However, my Editor isn’t into minimalism as much as I am, so I’ll
try and elaborate on Duke Ellington for Solo Guitar the best I can,
although it’s difficult to expand on the title…

Steve Hancoff has lovingly taken 16 Ellington compositions (actually 15 –
“After All” is a Billy Strayhorn penned number), and transposed them very
effectively to the solo acoustic guitar. The passion which Hancoff has for
the source material is obvious when you stop to read the excellent liner
notes that are included with the CD – over 20 pages outlining both the
musical history of the selected tracks and some specific guitar techniques
that Hancoff uses to capture the essence of these tracks.  From a technical
standpoint, Hancoff is an incredible acoustic guitarist with a sore spot for
the old blues – his 7th-dominated, string bending interpretations of
Ellington’s work neatly display both the compositional genius of the Duke,
and the formidable arranging capabilities of Hancoff himself.  However, it
is on an emotional level where this release works best – you can’t help but
close your eyes while listening to tracks such as “Awful Sad” and
“Reflections in D” and imagine relaxing on the front porch of a small town
home, sipping a beverage and rocking in your favorite chair.  What makes
these songs, and this CD, a success isn’t so much the music itself but the
CHARM of the music – and that charm is captured expertly by Hancoff’s
playing.

So in short, your decision on whether or not to pick this release up at your
local record store is a simple one.  If you’re not fond of Ellington’s
music, and don’t particularly like 1930’s-style “lazy” blues then don’t
bother.  But, if you’re a fan of The Duke and have a love for well-played
acoustic blues, then look no further than Steve Hancoff's Duke Ellington
for Solo Guitar.  It will not disappoint.

- Michael Askounes (michael@gscyclone.com)

CREDITS:
Steve Hancoff: Acoustic Guitar

TRACKLIST:
1. Drop Me Off In Harlem (3:03)
2. Misty Morning (3:00)
3. Day Dream (3:12)
4. Move Over (3:06)
5. Lament for a Lost Love (2:54)
6. Awful Sad (3:29)
7. Mississippi Moan (3:25)
8. Come Sunday (3:49)
9. Morning Glory (3:11)
10. Rent Party Blues (3:24)
11. Beautiful Romance (2:37)
12. Dusk (3:11)
13. After All (3:18)
14. Have a Heart (2:44)
15. Blues of the Vagabond (3:22)
16. Reflection in D (6:11)

More information on Steve Hancoff can be found at
http://www.disciplineglobalmobile.com


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