Six-string elegy by request of the newly elected Lord Mayor of Coventry as performed by local master of acoustic reverie.
This performance was the finale of Tony Skipper’s inauguration at Saint Mary’s Guildhall, what with Coventry’s current chief Councillor being well-versed in arts and Si Hayden’s fan. Hayden, of course, is notable for his exquisite style and prolific delivery of riveting instrumental pieces. This short concert doesn’t seem to reference Si’s previously released numbers but, despite his invigorating grip on new tunes, there’s no air of improvisation, only that of freedom.
Light yet intense, sophisticated if sweet, the acoustic set mesmerizes from the start, the slightly humorous “Skipper At The Helm” – dedicated, of course, to the incumbent, as is jazzy “Guildhall Boogie” – marrying baroque discipline to country frivolity, and “The Cobbled Path Of Elegance” weaving epic, and filigree, lace to lapse into Spanish drama and fuse fast dance to nostalgic reflection. “Flamenco Dreams” may run along the same, though deeper and more solemn, lines but, paradoxically, “Kinetic Melody” has a very much relaxed feel to its muscular strum until the drift is sparse and strings spank the fretboard, while “Spiral Head Case” is headed towards spiritual transparency, where delicate strokes of “Sideways In Blue” paint nocturnal exhilaration.
Liberated from time, place and occasion, this album remains a great showcase for an immense talent.