Preston Reed — Handwritten Notes
(Outer Bridge OB 1001, 2000, CD)
by David Ashcraft, Published 2001-03-01
If you think that the acoustic guitar is a conventional instrument then you haven’t heard Preston Reed play it. Combining a tapping approach that is considerably evolved from the style of the late Michael Hedges, he also generates a vast number of different percussion sounds from the body of the guitar itself. Most of the time utilizing a left hand that drapes over the top of the fretboard rather than under, Reed’s revolutionary approach to the guitar typically leaves concert audiences astounded. The beauty of Handwritten Notes is that the technique never overwhelms the compositions. While there are many aggressive, high-energy tunes like “Accelerator” and “Shinkansen” (written about the Japanese bullet train), the album is exceptionally well balanced with quieter, more melodic songs. “First Summer without You” displays a heartbreaking beauty that recalls the subtlety of pianist Bill Evans. Reed also returns to his fingerpicking roots at times and even serves up a nice dose of blues on “Lost Time,” both of which add a human touch to the proceedings. This is quite possibly the best album that Preston Reed has recorded in a stellar 14-album career, and is highly recommended to fans of instrumental acoustic music.
Related artist(s): Preston Reed
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