Anson Wright knows a thing or two about storytelling. He is, after all, an accomplished writer and poet whose writing has been praised for its density and depth by Anaïs Nin. But magically he is also able to pour out both his narratives and his lyrical poetry with emotion as well; and all of this he does in the vignettes of song. They swing, they sway and traipse their way into your sensibilities on the music of Only Love.
The quality of his playing is exceptional on this extraordinary album. He takes nothing for granted in music. As a guitarist Mr Wright is not one of those wildly idiosyncratic guitarists, let alone provocatively iconoclastic (like some of the younger exponents of his instrument). Rather he plainly understands the nature of his instrument and at the same time he is out to make music on it in a manner that is calculated open our minds to its many melodic possibilities. If he is burdened by tradition he does not show it; rather he bends and twists the tenets of that tradition to the melodic will of his musicianship.
On Only Love he is joined by three other superb artists – the incomparable Brasilian pianist Jasnam Daya Singh, bassist Brian Casey and drummer Todd Scott-Bishop. Together these musicians bring a jazz brilliance to Mr Wright’s music. Meanwhile the guitarist unexpectedly takes us to another world. It’s full of glinting lights, mysterious depths, expectations, hopes and joys. In sheer colour and variety, in the depth of its characterisation and the exceptional range and refinement of his guitar playing Mr Wright imparts a powerful stature to everything that he plays. In the variety and stylishness of such music as “Chelsea”, “Inner Motion” and “Merci mon frère”, Wright brings an effortless urbanity and lyricism to his playing.
Meanwhile everywhere else his musicianship is buoyant and he plays with an aristocratic grace and psychological ambiguity and he is almost insolently effortless, bringing debonair virtuosity and swagger to the mechanisations of melody and harmony. All in all this is music that is ravishingly subtle with emotions evoked as few can even hope to try.
Track list – 01: Rahway Blues; 02: Maddie In New York; 03: Solstice; 04: Chelsea; 05: Inner Motion; 06: Merci mon frère; 07: Warrior One; 08: All Shall Rise to Thee; 09: Only Love
Personnel – Anson Wright: guitar; Jasnam Daya Singh: piano; Brian Casey: bass; Todd Scott-Bishop: drums
Released – 2020
Label – Saphu Records
Runtime – 55:27