THE JAZZ OWL
by Travis Rogers, Jr.
Nancy Goudinaki’s What I was for You: re.think is worth the wait. She is an excellent vocalist and an astonishing guitarist. And she may have the coolest guitar ever. It is a folding guitar that allows for travel but has a sweet sound. But for most of the tracks, she plays that beautiful nylon string guitar.
What I was for You: re.think is a return to her classical roots but it belongs firmly in the Jazz world. The thread running throughout the album concerns the stages and experiences of a woman’s life. Of the ten tracks on the album, two include Goudinaki’s vocals. Six of those ten are her own originals.
La Catedral by Augustine Barrios opens the album. The classical guitar is enhanced by the backing vocalizations from Nancy and Devo D. The guitar and vocals are gorgeous. Fuoco by Roland Dyens follows with quick-tempo movement and precision rhythms. Barrios is represented again with El Ultimo Canto, a wonderful piece. The three pieces are modern reimaginings of those classical guitar works.
What I was for You: re.think is a Nancy original. The melancholic melody is deepened by JD Allen’s tenor saxophone. It is a warm and profound collaboration. Nancy co-wrote Nereids with Richie Goods who adds his electric bass to this incredible piece. It is one of the loveliest pieces of music you would ever hope to hear.
Feel Alive is a fascinating venture into bent notes and sweet vocals. One Night in Caldera explores delicate textures of the guitar with Latin hues and warm chords.
Berimbau by Baden Powell de Aquino, the great Brazilian guitarist, is rendered beautifully with all the Brazilian flavor one could hope. A masterpiece of composition and performance.
Ariadne’s Lullaby was written for Nancy’s infant niece with all the charm and tenderness one could imagine. The percussive taps and exquisite fingerpicking overflow with affection. In addition, Ariadne gets a guest vocal on the track with her sweet coos and giggles. Absolutely lovely.
The album concludes with a solo guitar return to What I was for You: re.think. This version was played with the MOOVtravel Guitar. It is an excellent sound and provides a fine return to the earlier track in the album.
Just when I was hoping to hear classical guitar, Nancy Goudinaki arrives to present more than I had hoped to hear. Not only extraordinary among women guitarists, she is outstanding among all guitarists.