Dan Lambert,
The Clearing
(Coordinate Records, 1997)

Every now and then I get my hands on a CD where the music transports me elsewhere. The Clearing by Dan Lambert is one such CD. Somewhere hidden in the songs is the touch of starlight and a brightly burning fire.

Throughout the CD Dan Lambert's guitar-playing is spectacular. Placing the style of the music is a bit harder to do. How can one place the style of music when several different styles of play are used to evoke and enchant? It swings from jazz to folk and into styles that have no name. Well, except for acoustic, and that seldom explains it sufficiently. The best way to define this music is not by style, but by its source. It is guitar music that comes from a person who is good and loves to play.

You start off with "Into the Mist," a song to greet the dawn with as the mist fades away. It is then followed up by "The Opening," which greets and bids farewell, and dances around the fire for a while in between.

"For those Left Behind" whispers of faces we miss and places that we long for. "Telepathy" moves from the silence of memories to the silence of listening to musicians jam on guitars. The travelling continues as one is greeted at a Scottish castle in "Tartan Swing."

We are then let rest for a while as the "High Moors" shows a strange and alien landscape. The song tells of the land and the people who live there. "The Way Home" is a wayfarers' song, as home comes into view.

The music continues in "Raga Pam," as one is brought back inside to listen to a group of musicians get ready to perform. Parts of it capture the feel of the music that drifts from the orchestra pit as the orchestra warms up. The music then wafts back outdoors again as a piper goes off walking into the night in "The Lone Piper." The tempo picks up for the next song, as we go racing across the sea in "Rails Across the Atlantic."

The music slows down for "Solo Piano Fantasy" -- for the most part it sounds almost like someone playing around a bit with a harmony line on a piano. The sense of play continues into "If Dogs Wore Hats" but the play is lighter and the sound is stranger at times. It has more of a sense of someone experimenting with sound than "Solo Piano Fantasy" does.

"Festival on High Street" catches part of the feel of a street festival at night. The guitar fading in and out, echoing itself as it goes. And this brings us to the closing song, "Melody for the End of the Day," a soft, gentle song that seems to say goodnight as it draws to an end.

Somehow, Dan Lambert managed to create poems using music for words. So sit back, listen and enjoy his music of the night.

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]

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