Search - Andrew York, Morten Lauridson, Scott Tennant :: Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ) Air & Ground

Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ) Air & Ground
Andrew York, Morten Lauridson, Scott Tennant
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ) Air & Ground
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1


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Another step backwards for LAGQ
Phillip Hintze | Houston, TX | 03/29/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)

"The last 2 efforts by the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet have been put together with the casual listener firmly in mind. I say casual listener because few of these selections show any potential for in-depth listening opportunities. Andrew York's 3 compositions are overlong, cliché-ridden easy listening tunes. They're not horrible, but it seems a waste of the considerable talent in this group. There are 4 selections that I feel are worth mentioning on this disc: Cumba-Quín, by Carlos Rafael Rivera; Dirait-on, by Morten Lauridsen; Walk Dance, by Miroslav Tadic; and Farewell, by Sérgio Assad. 4 out of 13 makes for a poor hitting percentage, and a below average LAGQ disc.In conclusion, I just want to say that LAGQ is an immensely talented group of guitarists, and they're also geniuinely nice guys, so I hate to pummel their new disc. I just really think they're trying to cushion their stability on the prestigious Sony Classical label by "dumbing down" their music to sell more copies. I hope this review is helpful to some of you out there."
Air & Ground
(2 out of 5 stars)

"The new CD by LAGQ: Air & Ground is sadly a disappointment. While the playing ability of the members of the group is not in question - they are great guitarists and always will be. Their choices in music is the real problem with this CD. The selection leave a lot to be desired. Their atempts at the fusion of many styles leaves the album slow and plodding - not the exciting and inspiring choices of the past.This album qualifies as MUZAK. The truly redeeming performances on the album are the compositions by Scott Tennant. They are bright and fun to listen to. Andrew York's "The Lotus Eaters" is also a nice easy listening piece. The rest are rather plaintive and boring. They have gotten away from their roots and foundation, that which made them famous and endeared them to many, myself included. This directional shift will leave many disappointed."
My favorite LAGQ album
Sor_Fingers | Boulder, CO USA | 08/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It pains me to see the negative reviews for this album. I am a classical guitarist and life long musician, so my opinion of this album is not one of the casual listener. This CD is GREAT. No questions asked. The arrangements are super tight and creative. Just about every track on this CD stands out. The album opens with Lotus Eaters by Andrew York which is borderline outside of the classical music realm, but the piece is well written. Besides, what compositions by Andrew York don't have a little bit of a new age feel to them anyway? He is afterall a jazz and rock guitarist too who plays classical. If you want to hear something really weird by York, listen to "Marley's Ghost." That will make you wonder what kind of classical record label would let that on one of their albums.
Carlos Rafael Rivera's "Cumba-Quin" is also an impressive track on the CD. It is filled with energy, drive and string splitting pyrotechnics from the quartet. The Celtic Fare suite is also particularly impressive. Buy this album and you'll be jigging and bouncing by the end of those three tracks. You may also recognize one of the celtic melodies from the closing scenes of Napoleon Dynamite.
After the energy bouncing celtic suite, the quartet tones it down with Dirait-On by Morten Laurisden. This slow relaxing piece is simply beautiful. The melody just takes you away and the counterpoint in it makes for a truly intelligent composistion. The different voices weave in and out making for an absolutely enjoyable listening experience.
Things heat up later with Paulo Bellinati's Baiao De Gude. The ensemble work is tight as a knot. The unison rhythms at the beginning are baffling. Another overwhelmingly impressive composition. The complexity is unbelievable and the group stays completely together.
The album also has two other impressive composistions by members of the group. The first is William Kanengiser's "Air and Ground." It is very impressive to hear a great piece from someone besides York. It is very well developed with much contrast, starting at a low point and going through an intense building section until there is a driving energy with golpes abounding. (golpe= attack with fingers or knuckles on the soundboard or bridge of the guitar). Air and Ground works as a maze of themes that build to a staggering climax that falls off into nothingness. York's (Ask the) Sphinx is a piece of epic proportions, clocking in at just under 10 minutes. York keeps it interesting by taking us through his maze of themes, revisiting and altering the themes throughout the pieces long durations. He also winds up and heaves a few musical knuckle balls throughout the piece. This piece is incredibly well put together.
Benjamin Verdery's Ellis Island is absolutely amazing. One of my most favorite tracks on the album as a matter of fact. The piece builds into a whirlwind of arpeggios and soaring melodys. The piece swells into a musical climax of awe that Verdery probably felt in his visit to Ellis Island (which the piece is about: his emotions that he experienced when visting the particular place).
The other thing great about this album is the two solo performances by Tennant and Kannengiser. Tennants rendition of "Walk Dance" is incredible. His technique is absolutley flawless. You won't hear a more crisp and clean performance of such a technical monster of a composistion like "Walk Dance." Anyone doubting Tennant's technique (which I believe is superior to any other guitarist that I have ever heard) should listen to this track and immediately throw that misconception out the window. The other great solo performance on this album is Kannengiser's performance of Sergio Assad's Farewell. This thirteenth track puts the cherry on top of a delicious ice cream sunday of a CD. Kannengiser's tastefull performance closes the album with a nice, beautiful three minutes of music.
Don't listen to any two star reviews of this album. Those with these negative misconceptions of the quality of this album should take advantage of the stereo mixing of this album to find out how brilliant the music actually is. In short this album is a true treat. It has an overwhelming amount of variety, energy and beauty that will not fade away after countless listens."