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CD Review: Pete Oxley & Nicolas Meier – Travels to the West

Pete Oxley & Nicolas Meier – Travels to the West
(MGPCD008. CD Review by Chris Parker)

Recorded at four concerts on their West Country tour in 2011, this album is the first documenting the collaboration of two of the finest guitarists currently operating in the UK: Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meier.

Both are featured in the appropriately named band Eclectica!, which is as likely to address Joni Mitchell or Stevie Wonder material as compositions by Jobim or Hungarian folk music, and on this ten-track recording they cast their net just as widely, their repertoire embracing Chick Corea (‘Spain’, ‘Armando’s Rumba’), Pat Metheny (‘Travels’) and Milton Nascimento pieces as well as their own wide-ranging originals.

One of the latter, Oxley’s ‘Butterfly Touch’, sums up in its title the duo’s approach: delicately beautiful, but powerful in its far-reaching potential. They both play nylon string, steel string and jazz guitar; Oxley also plays electric twelve-string and Meier glissentar and baglama – but whatever the blend of sounds and textures, theirs is a supremely compatible partnership, their speed of execution dazzling, their delight in mutual spark-striking infectious.

This is music skilfully crafted to suit intimate, arts-centre-type venues, but it works perfectly on this unequivocally enjoyable, uplifting hour-long CD.

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