Search - Alex De Grassi :: The Water Garden

The Water Garden
Alex De Grassi
The Water Garden
Genres: World Music, Jazz, New Age, Pop
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

"Meditation and water are wedded forever," says New Acoustic progenitor Alex de Grassi, quoting Herman Melville in the liner notes to this 10-song cycle of solo steel-string guitar pieces "on the theme of water." There's a...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Alex De Grassi
Title: The Water Garden
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Tropo Records
Original Release Date: 8/4/1998
Re-Release Date: 8/18/1998
Genres: World Music, Jazz, New Age, Pop
Styles: South & Central America, Bolivia, Jazz Fusion, Instrumental, Adult Contemporary, Adult Alternative
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 659453100128

"Meditation and water are wedded forever," says New Acoustic progenitor Alex de Grassi, quoting Herman Melville in the liner notes to this 10-song cycle of solo steel-string guitar pieces "on the theme of water." There's a stillness at the heart of this Garden, but don't expect placid performances; de Grassi's stunning finger style exploits rapidslike torrents of open-tuned chords ("Prelude"), babbling brooks of uplifting hammer-on melodies ("The Zipper"), and buoyant themes floating over liquid counterpoint ("Another Shore"). Sure, the former Windham Hill mainstay, whose Turning: Turning Back and Slow Circle helped define that label's identity, is capable of brooding, contemplative work--the lovely title track is a good example--but he rarely gets stuck in meditative mud, preferring, as in "Cumulus Rising," to wring great emotion from even his quietest moments. The Water Garden suggests that de Grassi's vision has only gotten deeper and clearer over time; he's a jazz composer with a folkie's fingers and the Northern California coastline in his soul. --James Rotondi

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Member CD Reviews

Carol S. from PARADISE, CA
Reviewed on 3/10/2007...
Relaxing guitar music....

CD Reviews

Music for Meditation
Rebecca Johnson | Washington State | 12/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Each note seduces you into wanting to hear more. The music flows from one solo guitar piece to the next. The notes almost drip into your mind and ripple outward sending vibrations through your soul to calm you and yet they awaken something deeper in you at the same time.

Just as being near water calms us, Alex De Grassi seems to want to lull you into a meditative state. While this is named The Water Garden, it is much more and is far from a submissive offering. Each note is filled with a vibrancy that can only be compared to floating on cloud nine and will elevate your mood to a state of joy.

Prelude is an ecstatic piece reminiscent of water tumbling over rocks in a never-ending cycle as rain falls in the mountains, perhaps dripping from leaves and falling down to the earth. Each drop of water finds its way to another droplet and together they flow to the sea. It is absolutely breathtaking and then fades away.

The Zipper almost seems to be a piece about when the water reaches the ocean and as the sun is setting. You can almost imagine the water from a lagoon merging with the salt water. There is a sense of closure and a journey completed.

The Water Garden is a very mellow piece at first and produces a feeling of floating. As if you were floating in a pond gazing at an azure sky.

Lost in the woods must be a woods near the sea because it has a certain longing to it and almost seems to be waves lapping around the shore and at times crashing onto a beach. There is a deep ocean feel, with lighter notes, that make the sounds surface from time to time. I see whales playing in an ocean calling to one another as I watch them from a cliff.

Another Shore has an inevitability and certain sadness as if two lovers have given up trying to find one another and a certain regret is present in the piece.

Cumulus Rising is a far more airy and hopeful piece. An eagle seems to be spiriling upwards towards the sky. Heaven!

Ripple is a rapid selection which seems to move out in all directions at once. Someone almost seems to be swimming towards a waterfall in the shade of trees sending out ripples towards the shore. The most active piece and has a touch of sadness or deep contemplation.

Vanishing point is a very appropriate name as the notes appear and dissolve. As if rain was falling on soil and soaking in very quickly, yet more rain keeps falling. This is my favorite selection because it captures a variety of emotions.

Down below could very well be sunlight reaching as far down as it can go into the water where it reflects off fish playfully swimming below.

In Endless Rain, a torrential downpour of notes is almost overwhelming and you can literally hear drops of water splashing wherever they fall, then suddenly the rain does end.

Music can at times be a drink for your soul. I have never received such a beautiful gift and I thank the wonderful friend who introduced me to music I will enjoy when I need to relax deeply and completely.

~The Rebecca Review"
The sound of two hands playing
Marc Ruby? | Warren, MI USA | 11/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Alex de Grassi is one of our national treasures, a fine composer and a wizard of improvisational guitar playing that crosses from jazz to 'new age' and back again with alacrity. He uses acoustic guitars with anywhere from 6 to 18 strings and countless open tunings, combined with a blazing technique that leaves you perpetually wondering who the other guitarist is. Trust me, there is no other guitarist.At first listening I found this a less accessible album than some of de Grassi's other efforts. After several listenings, though, I realised that I was the problem, not the music. "The Water Garden" requires the listener to be present to the music. This is stuff for contemplative thinking and soft introspection. Something I should probably do more of. This is stuff that fills space with harmony and works with light, not background elevator music.From the abstract minimalism of Prelude (3:31) and The Zipper (2:46) to the jazzy melodics of The Water Garden (4:03) and the percussive strikes of Lost In The Woods (4:05) this is an accumulation of pieces that draw the mind in and let it relax in a state of wonder and receptivity. The songlike Another Shore (4:29) is one of my favorites. Cumulus Rising (4:37) returns to the jazz idiom and continues de Grassi's investigation of subtle percussive effects. Ripple (5:09) is another favorite, laying melody over a pulsing counterpoint that almost becomes a conversation. Vanishing Point (5:01) contrasts to alto voices that seek common ground, one contemplative, one seemingly lost in nervous energy. Down Below (4:04) returns to light jazz with some protechnical work on the bass strings. Endless Rain (4:09) ends the CD in the minimalist style it began in but now in an imitation of life. Great meditation music, and highly recommended."