Spirit Wild, by Don Reeve, Crash Landing
Productions, 5720 E. Camden, Tucson, AZ
85712, (602) 721-7516.
Spirit Wild, Don Reeve's CD new release, following upon his previous album, Nature's Way, reflects an unusual combination of virtuosity and creativity. The music has an unrelenting and enveloping quality, its chord changes and progressions reflecting the unique theme and temperament of each piece. In listening, one is reminded from time to time of Leo Kottke and John Fahey. As the album title suggests, the music is spirited, sometimes wild, yet consistently delivered with great precision and presence. Don is in complete resonance with his instrument, the acoustic guitar, and it, in turn, "sings" for him. Although dynamic, the music has at the same time an incredible quality of lightness and ease that might belie Don's skill if one were not attentive and attuned. Ever a wise musician, Don allows us to rest from time to time. As if all this is not enough, all guitar tracks were recorded in one take, with no overdubs.
Don shared with me that the music for this album was composed while on retreat in nature, and is for him a conversation with Mother Earth and her elements and forces. Indeed, starting with the title piece, Spirit Wild, which is as the ceaseless, flowing energy of the chuckling, chortling, chattering stream, the album suggests a journey into nature, both in her dynamic aspects and in her repose. Rain is reminiscent of a thunderstorm, having a certain pensive, encompassing quality, embellished with rich rounds and roils as of rolling thunder, followed by descending cascades and tricklings as of rain. Tickle is suggestive of wind and clouds playing together in the vastness of the open sky.
The infinitesimal, incredibly rapid and pulsating strumming of Black Diamond creates an astonishing display of virtuosity and a richly embroidered tapestry of sound. Reflective of a journey deep within, it is, amazingly, intense yet easy. Celtic Cross is light and rhythmic, reminiscent of a highland fling, its intricate fingering reminding one of fast and impressive footwork, perhaps as in rock-hopping up a stream and pausing to find joy and infinity in the resplendent and refractive beauty of a single raindrop. Open Road presents a looping, hopping, evanescing filigree of sound and rhythmic tapping, a lightness of being. Roses begins as reflective fancy, bursting suddenly into the full bloom blossom of deep bass chord changes intertwined with rapid-play light and lovely fingering. One is again and again enveloped in a warp and weft of sound which, although complex, magically leaves one with the impression of lightness and ease. Virtuosity is the only word that suffices to describe this musical expression!