Thursday, December 24, 2009

Solstice, Etc: Winter Solstice

Ralph Towner: Winter Solstice


What does the Jewnitarian/Pagan set do on Christmas Eve? In my house, at least, once the kids are in bed, we generally turn on the tree, turn out the lights, light a fir-scented candle, and snuggle in front of the fire to something mystical, mesmerizing, and less-than-Christmassy. And though most of the year this sort of stuff is a bit too experimental for me, on a night like this, it's just the thing for atmosphere.

Avante-garde jazz guitarist Ralph Towner, who whet his teeth on the world of free jazz and improvisation with the Paul Winter Consort in the sixties after years of training as a classical guitarist, has long been known among the new-age set for both his preference for small-scale production sans amplification and his penchant for cross-genre fusion of folk music, Indian classical forms, and freeform jazz. Fittingly, this sparse, atmospheric track comes to us from Towner's 1975 sophomore solo album Solstice.

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