Canadian guitarist and composer Tim Bedner’s 2012 debut CD, Of Light and Shadow, contains nine original interesting compositions that are influenced by many styles and genres of music. Bedner defines himself “as a modern lyrical composer and improviser” resulting in Of Light and Shadow being a project that reflects not only Bedner’s virtuosity on his instrument, but also his notable compositional skills.
From the slow development of the first track, “Umbra,” which begins with an acoustic steel string intro reminiscent of Pat Metheny, leading to an easy swing melody with various colors of electrified sounds, the guitarist gives notice that a distinctive listening experience is on the way. This album is full of multi-textual song forms and styles that flow seamlessly as two suites. The tracks provide Bedner and his band mates with an opportunity to stretch out and calmly develop each selection in a natural and unhurried manner.
Bedner is joined by fellow trio members: Jeff Asselin on drums and percussion and Normand Glaude on contra bass, chromatic harmonica, percussion (all) and synth strings on “Sometimes Sadness.” Of Light and Shadow’s most unique element is its broad sense of musicality, with each selection unfolding the musical story; this is not fast food styled music, and this is slow simmered goodness.
Of Light and Shadow is reminiscent of Metheny’s Beyond the Missouri Sky release. Throughout the album there is a feeling of exploration and revelation that invites the listener in. The guitarist never ceases to surprise, creating a program that develops a full range of temperaments, textures and tempos. Bedner can certainly get around the frets as exemplified on his solo work in “Aurora,” “Synergetic,” and “Chiaroscuro.” However, the music builds to each flashy moment and the burn always makes perfect musical sense.
“Bluenote” is a multi-textural vehicle that finds Bedner coloring his six string sound with a Charlie Hunter-ish, Leslie cab sound to fat distorted coloration for his solo statement. The song nicely flows between a shuffle beat and a flowing samba. Glaude delivers another fine musical statement, as through-out the project, on both a contra bass solo and his fine chromatic harmonica work.
“Chiaroscuro” finds the trio developing a story of a related straight eight latin tinged groove that is propelled by the fine colors of Asselins drum set. Glaude’s chromatic harmonica is beautifully supported by Bedner’s rich voicings.
Of Light and Shadow is a musical journey of outstanding compositions, Bedner has done a great job in producing a project that not only showcases the outstanding technical facility from the guitarist and his band mates, but also is full of music that is soulful, textured and energetic, as well as emotive, earthy, with a touch of the Midwest open skies.
Personnel: Tim Bedner: acoustic and electric guitars; Jeff Asselin: drums and percussion; Normand Glaude: contra bass, chromatic harmonica, percussion (all) and synth strings (6).
All Compositions by Tim Bedner
Tracks: Umbra; Aurora; Lumen; Chiaroscuro; Synergetic; Sometimes Sadness; A.M. for P.M.; Bluenote; Waltz for Elise.
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