Norman Savitt,
Norman Savitt & Friends
(Balkan Samba, 2009)

Norman Savitt, on his unimaginatively titled new CD Norman Savitt & Friends, is about as mellow as you can get outside of new-age environs. On these 15 tracks, Savitt displays his deft acoustic guitar work, both in solo pieces and in duets with Howard Levy on harmonica, Eugene Friesen on cello, David Amram on pennywhistle and Susan Mitchell on violin.

These works, all by Savitt, show influences of country, folk, Celtic and classical music. There is no studio enhancement here, and you would not want any. On his solo tunes Savitt plays complex lines of self accompaniment, as if two guitars are playing, although he is not at all flashy about it. He does not use fingerboard tapping, staying with more traditional styles of picking.

The duets are also top notch, as you might expect from his partners, who are well known in musical circles. Like Savitt, these players are quiet and stately. The different instruments add variety, as Savitt adjusts his playing to each one.

Savitt's playing is so relaxed, it takes a few listens to appreciate his technique and the differences in his solo pieces. This is a CD that both washes over you and draws you in with its rich, calming texture.

music review by
Dave Howell

14 August 2010

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