Robert C.Buckingham,Fred Geiger, Murphy Henry,Stephen A. Ide,David J. McCarthy,Les Mcintyre,Art Menius,John Roemer,Paul A. Sacks, Richard D. Smith, Richard K. Spottswood,Archie Wamock lll
Natural bridge Blues/Wait Till
The Sun Shines Nellie/Transatlantica/
Peacock Rag/Ookpick Waltz/
Move/Texas Lone Star/Bully Of The
Town/Road To Recovery/Birdie/Daphne/
Blue Ridge Mountain Blues.
"Transatlantica," an all-instrumental cassette, marks this Brooklyn native's second release. Arnie and his mandolin navigate through bluegrass, traditional, jazz and original tunes with the help from guitarist Greg Wilson, Billy hurt on fiddle, Charlie Chaney and Ted Francisco, who share banjo duties, bassist Marc Ramsey, and fiddler Tim Smith, who appears on two cuts.
The quick-paced "Natural Bridge Blues" is a freewheeling mix of mandolin, guitar, Charlie's banjo and Tim's fiddling. This catchy opening cut is nicely followed by the traditional "Wait Till the Sun Shines Nellie," complete with a fast, flashy mandolin lead. The mandolin-powered title cut, a Solomon original, starts deliberately, before soaring into orbit. "Ookpick Waltz" is played beautifully by Arnie, while the whole band swings wildly on "Move," a tune made famous by Miles Davis.
Both Bill Monroe's "Texas Lone Star," played in a crisp, tight bluegrass style, and "Bully Of The Town" are fine renditions. "Road To Recovery," the second Solomon original, has a contemplative melody that lingers in the memory, and is bolstered by Charlie's banjo work and Tim's fiddling. Excellent stuff! Of final mention are the bopping beat of "Daphne," the Django Reinhardt/Stephane Grappelli tune, and the tape closer "Blue Ridge Mountain Blues."
Arnie Solomon is a mandolin player loaded with talent. His propensity to record exciting material is on display throughout this cassette, which is recommended to those who enjoy a mixture of musical styles. (Heritage Records, Rt. 3, Box 290, Galax, VA 24333)PAS
QUARTER CENTURY Arnie Solomon
Instrumental bluegrass/oldtime records have had several labels hung upon them in recent years. "New acoustic" is one of them. "Newgrass" is another. Whatever the label, such releases have blessed us with the talents of such pickers as David Grisman, Tony Rice, Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Alison Brown, and a cast of dozens (but it's growing). Mandolinist Arnie Solomon is just such a picker, though few but the people "in the know" in bluegrass/acoustic circles have ever heard of him. Quarter century is actually a compilation of some of Solomon's past cassette-only releases with a new tune or four thrown in for good measure. At a garish twenty-one cuts, QUARTER CENTURY offers a generous bang for the CD buck. With fellow pickers and sidemen, Solomon "delivers the goods" in bluegrass and new acoustic. The eclectic, new acoustic cuts tend to be Solomon-penned, while bluegrass workouts are usually public domain or Bill Monroe. In the tradition of his mentors, David Grisman and Bill Monroe, Solomon frequently features his sidemen. It's very much an ensemble sound, with not only mandolin leads, but leads on guitar, banjo and fiddle as well. And, It is all well performed by veteran pickers with taste and touch.
January 15, 1997
CDs from Warren Zevon, Arnie Solomon, et cetera
FROM ZEVON TO RIG ROCK
(Heritage Records, Route 3, Box 290,
Galax, VA 24333
As Bo Diddley once sang, "YOU can't judge a book by lookin' at the cover." The cover of this CD features a photo of the cleancut Greensboro artist standing above an occupied helipad above a picturesque coastal resort city, which makes the CD look like the soundtrack to "Miami Vice Does Rio." Play the disc inside, however, and instead of the slick '80's synth rockers you might expect, you get nearly 70 minutes worth of accomplished bluegrass instrumentals. Solomon, who plays and records bluegrass during time away from his job as a high school administrator, has placed 14 times in the Top Ten among mandolin contestants at the Old Time Fiddler's Convention in Galax Va., according to the liner notes to QUARTER CENTURY. The CD amounts to a greatest-hits collection for Solomon, with four new recordings added to songs from the 1991 and 1993 cassette releases BROOKLYN TO GALAX ( a reference to Solomon's New York roots) and "Transatlantica." The songs range from the spritely traditional "Carnival Waltz" to the somber, moving Solomon original, "The Dog Days of Summer," with a nice mix of originals and classics, including songs by legends Bill Monroe and Authur Smith.
Quarter Century (Heritage)***1/2
Mike Marshall has enlisted both Brazilians and non-Brazilians for this project of choro duets. Characteristics of all choro music, the rhythms are spicy and swing in a tightly wound manner, with lush and sophisticated harmonies surrounding infectious melodies, giving mandolinist Marshall and cohorts like Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Jovino Santos Neto plenty with which to work. Even though mandolinist Arnie Solomon covers Denzil Best's jazz standard, "Move," he inhabits a world that is more in line with bluegrass. Solomon and his sidemen are not as well known as Marshall and his crew, but Solomon's playing and individuality are on a high level.