Roland Dyens in the skaï
Association

Night and Day

Visit to jazz

In the world of jazz I feel like a close friend on familiar territory and as such I have taken an immense pleasure in arranging and recording ten great American standards for guitar. More than just being a confined musical genre – with such an immense history – does jazz not above all evoke a certain approach, almost a musical philosophy ? What has come to characterize it, is a flexibility and freedom of tone that one could typify as “jazz attitude”.

Most of these grand classics, before they were ever included in the Real Book, found their origins in simple songs from comedies and musicals in the 1940’s and 1950’s, which were often preceded by prolonged introductions, surprisingly classical in style. Although lost in most later versions, the original “verses” that so beautifully kicked off these legendary theme songs (I love Paris and Over the Rainbow, just to mention two titles) are firmly anchored in the birth of these great standards. In my eyes, retracing their origins did not only seem a natural and opportune task, but even a musicological duty.

Whatever your passion may be, either guitar or jazz, I would be delighted to invite you to this magical universe.

        Roland Dyens

 


 

It’s not a shift, but a paradigm chasm from classical to jazz guitar playing. Although all music shares a common vocabulary, the vernacular of jazz with its odd idioms of syncopation and blue notes might seem like an exotic dialect to a classical player, a southern drawl to one raised speaking an Irish brogue.


Truly authentic communication with an instrument via classical or jazz, as with a brogue or drawl, demands there be no mimicry… the dialect must be a native tongue. Roland Dyens proves on Night and Day that he is fabulously bilingual. Although having firmly established his preeminence as a classical guitar player with prior recordings of Villa-Lobos, Satie, Sor and Weiss, Dyens has shown perhaps more fluency with modern genres, including arrangements of Georges Brassens songs, Thelonius Monk and Django Reinhardt standards, even a tribute to the music of Frank Zappa.

Night and Day likewise showcases Dyens’ facility with novel and virtuosic renderings of classic American jazz standards on solo nylon-string guitar. Like Martin Taylor, Dyens plays on one guitar that which sounds to be impossible, both in speed and articulation of diverging counterpoints. Particularly on Bluesette, All the Things You Are and Take the A Train, one must pause to verify that these are not duos. 
And as any serious musician strives to do, the technical difficulty of these arrangements is camouflaged, made subliminal by the carefree and contagious exuberance Dyens infuses into these tunes.


Even the simpler, slower melodies I Love Paris, Misty, and Over the Rainbow find a very complex expression with Dyens’ genius for arranging… but in the process of finding their way to your ear become simple again, natural, a native tongue that speaks to you sincerely in a dialect you’ve always heard.

        Alan Fark

 

GHA 126.061 – ℗ © 2003 GHA Records

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