Dallying with destiny, Swiss six-stringer steps up the pedestal to paradise.
Labeling this London-dweller as a squire guitarist for Jeff Beck is downplaying Nicolas Meier’s ability to lead the game, but maybe such is his modus operandi: to keep the music quiet to the point when it possesses the listener’s soul. Here’s why he opts for a trio setting on “Kismet” which immensely texturizes the arrangements’ sensuality, so even the most familiar tune of “Besame Mucho” sounds arresting and, given a new flourish, fresh now – although the pun in there, “besame” meaning “kiss me” that relates phonetically to the album’s title, isn’t so obvious. One of the record’s layers, it adds to the pieces’ depth, yet their beauty lies on the surface.
And there’s surface tension to it, too, as Meier, striving for the ultimate emotional release, blows ether into two of his earlier cuts, including the infectious, adventurous, dynamics-testing “Horizon,” but the boldness of Nicolas’ approach manifests itself from the off, once “Giant Steps” flows into view distilling Coltrane’s brass into transparent strum and shifting time signatures, assisted by delicate percussion, from Andalusia to New Orleans. Still, the territory charted more often on this record is Anatolia, from the vibrant low-tone jive of the title track to the rapid runs of “October In Ankara” that see the melodies born for oud or tar realized on electric instruments, while “Adiguzel” diverts its exquisite vigor into jazz and accentuates the tight but loose coupling of Laurence Lowe’s drums and Kevin Glasgow’s bass.
On a more intimate note, Django’s “Nuages” arrives sparse and flutters airily, if insistently, and “Reflections” is a vehicle for melancholy of a chamber nature where cello and violin frame the guitar tears before the tempo speeds up to bristle with fusion and the tune takes off for a twang. As a result, the mid-paced funk of closer “Not For Me” rides an irony horse for it’s a glorious statement of Nicolas Meier’s master stroke. A hit, then.