Danish guitarist Torben Waldorff is a supple,
respectful player and a composer of breadth and depth. His third solo album
spans the widescreen title track; the swinging, relatively orthodox
”Song-Ella”; the rock-inflected ”Shark”;
and softer tunes like ”Lama” and ”Scape,” the churchy piece that ends
the disc on a sweet, luminous note.
empathy between Waldorff, saxophonist Donny McCaslin, keyboardist Jon Cowherd,
bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Jon Wikan is appealing. What’s less frequent
is the fire that destinguished a mood piece from a masterpiece. Waldorff
clearly has put in long hours at the school of Metheny, but he’s less showy if
no less virtuosic, and he knows how to use silence, particularly in the title
cut, the album’s best. ”American Rock Beauty” has earfeel as a fine Burbundy
tracks sound unfinished. Despite its rhythmic variety, ”Waves” seems unrounded,
though Waldorf and Wikangenerate a welcome head of steam, and ”Lama,” which
sounds as if Waldorff wanted it to be a union of the melancholic and the
madcap, misses a neccesary bridge. Others, however, compensate. ”Shining
Through” is particularly winning, as Cowherd’s piano launches a hoedown that
quickly turns heraldic. A third of the way in, Waldorff adds voicelike guitar
and Cowherd detours into the blues. ”Shining Through” never turns serious.
There’s something unusually arch and winning about this tune, its melody
evoking ”Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” Steams big hit from 1969.