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March 2002

Carl Verheyen
Solo Guitar Improvisations
CMG

This versatile, Southern California-based guitarist has a wide range of experience under his belt, including several movie soundtracks and past alliances with Chad Wackerman, Cher and the Bee Gees. And while his musical activities may be centered in the pop world, he has the chops and knowledge to cross into a variety of genres.

Solo Guitar Improvisations is not a jazz album per se, although it has quite a few jazz elements, including a nicely harmonized arrangement of "I Loves You Porgy," a rubato reading of "God Bless the Child" and a bluesy treatment of "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat," all of which are played on acoustic guitar. On the novelty side of the coin are a kind of cool version of "Sunny Afternoon" (by Ray Davies of the Kinks) and "Not Yet Chet," a salute to the late Chet Atkins that bounces along to that characteristic alternating bass. And "Partington Cove Suite" has a free-flowing Celtic vibe that is in places framed by synth-chord swells.

Using the word "improvisation" in the title of this project is a bit of a stretch-much of the playing is clearly worked out in advance, and even if it weren't, a lot of fingerpicking is pretty formulaic-however, the material clearly demonstrates that Verheyen is a fine, versatile guitarist.

Originally published in March 2002
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