The band co-led by guitarist Pete Oxley from the UK and Nicolas Meier, originally from Switzerland, is on a tour of France and the UK; their London date is at the 606 Club.
They have a completely new set of music, all written by one or other of the band-leaders. In this partnership they have performed hundreds of gigs and produced no fewer than seven CDs together. Preview by Bettina Chakarov:
Fans of the ‘Oxley – Meier Guitar Project’ will know some of the things to expect: an array of different guitars, and a night of very varied soundscapes as the leaders coax all sorts of sounds from their many instruments.
There are usually around ten types of guitar: electric, acoustic, 12-string, 6 and 7-string nylons, 6- and 11-string fretless guitars, plus the more normal archtop jazz guitars. The band also has a virtuosically versatile rhythm section in Raph Mizraki (electric and acoustic basses) and Paul Cavaciuti (drums). Raph is a highly-respected multi-instrumentalist – and always creates a special moment with this band when he lays down both the basses and picks up some exotic percussion instruments to duet (or duel!) with Paul.
The band’s strap-line reads, ‘soundscapes from Turkey to Brazil’, and the music is indeed a highly successful meld of jazz and ‘world-music’ that can’t really be pigeon-holed. As Dave Gelly of The Observer has written: “These are two masterly guitarists…If you love music of any kind you’ll probably fall for this. ”
Pete Oxley explained his and Nic’s writing processes for the new music:
“Firstly, we try to take the writing to a higher level with each album that we put together. This not only takes into account the strength of the melodies, the interest in the harmonic and rhythmic ideas, but also, the arranging – the sound of the band. The consistency of the project comes very much from the respective personal musical languages we’ve each developed over the years, but within that, we both have scope to write anything from, effectively, country and western to tango! In rehearsals, we then work with the band with the objective of creating individual moods and vibes for each piece. Needless to say, having the palette of these varying guitars, plus Paul and Raph’s versatility gives us a vast range of colours to draw from.
“Nick always has his half of the album written – usually before I’ve even begun my half! This is actually a good working method for me: Nick will say, “I have a burning Turkish-vibe thing, a waltz, a piece influenced from my trip to Indonesia…” etc., and I will then know what sort of pieces are required to fulfil an overall programme, full of variety and surprises.
“We’ve both gone for melodically-led writing, underpinned by all sorts of turns and quirks in the harmonies and the grooves. We really hope that our audiences will be excited – and moved – by these, even if on a totally subconscious level”