Dec 14, 2011
Elevation, the latest CD from finger picking guitar whiz Lawson Rollins, is a true world music album. Playing his Spanish guitar (a custom 2006 Maldonado, in case you’re wondering), and piecing together recordings made in Iran, Nepal, California and Virginia by musicians from across the world, Rollins pieces together varying sounds and stylings that creates a wonderful whole.
Rollins has wisely assembled two experienced musician/producers to help shape his sound. Shahin Shahida adds additional guitar to the project. He also recorded Nepali musicians in Katmandu and a satur player in Iran to create the mystical sounds of “Persian Nights:” and “Voyager’s Tale”, adding vocals in Farsi to the latter. Dominic Camardella, in addition to being a veteran keyboard player (Airto and Flora Purim), has an engineering degree from MIT with a minor in music that assists him in creating sonic soundscapes on the organ, piano, and electric Wurlitzer piano.
However, it is Rollins and his guitar that stays front and center. His guitar emerges through treatments on “Himalayan Blue”, races along on the title track and sinuously slides on the classically influenced “The Diamond Path”. His sound recalls the acoustic portions of Al DiMeola’s World Sinfonia, with a dash of Andres Segovia (his first musical idol) to boot.