Charlie Byrd/Herb Ellis/Tal Farlow: Embraceable You
Great Guitars of Jazz (Vestapol 13075)
Composed by George and Ira Gershwin.
Recorded: Pittsburgh, early 1997
Rating: 88/100 (learn more)
Even though this version of George and Ira Gershwin's "Embraceable You" is credited to the guitar trio of Byrd/Ellis/Farlow, Tal Farlow pays most of the respects to the two legends of American song here. Minimal contributions from the other guitarists on the bill are made, but they exist, and, even though they are spare, they are important to the overall presentation. At 3:24, some artificial harmonics are played on the guitar and prove that the point of the entire evening-that is, classic jazz tunes such as this one can be infused with advanced instrumental techniques that add great variety to the original composition.
Farlow references North Carolina in his introduction, restating the title as "Embraceable Y'all," but the tune does not deviate much from the spirit of the inaugaral version. The changes are lovingly preserved, the solo sections are boxed into them, and the spirit of innovation is present even though the tune is ancient. The audience's reaction is proof of the power of the track, and, surely, the distinctly wistful melody is left intact, and, because many dimensions are added to the mix, anyone interested in great jazz improvisation on guitar should check this track out.
Reviewer: Marcus Singletary