The Way I Play

Artist: Esmond Selwyn

Date of Release: 01/06/2018

Catalogue no: SLAMCD2107

Label: SLAM

Price: £9.99

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Track Listing









‘The Way I Play’ SLAMCD 2107 Barcode: 5028386708223
Recorded at Octopia Studios, Weymouth, UK. July 2012.

1 Misty (Garner) 3:38
2 Blue Bossa (Dorham) 3:52
3 Stardust (Carmichael 2:52
4 Once in a While (Edwards) 5:11
5 Prelude to a Kiss (Ellington) 3:02
6 My Favourite Things (Hammerstein) 6:04
7 Polka Dots and Moonbeams (Burke) 2:39
8 Serenata (Parish) 3:46
9 Close Your Eyes (Petkere) 1:09
10 Just Friends (Lewis) 3:21
11 Cry me a River (Hamilton) 1:58
12 Ain’t Misbehaving (Waller) 3:33
13 Body and Soul (Green) 4:22
14 I only have Eyes for You (Bubin) 3:30
15 What’s New (Burke) 2:58
16 In a Sentimental Mood (Ellington) 3:08

Esmond Selwyn received his initial training directly at the hands of America's very finest, most revered and iconic pioneers of the modern jazz guitar, Chuck Wayne, Tal Farlow and George van Eps. Since those days he has carried out some thirty years of his own intense research and development drawing much single line fluency and phraseology from the styles of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Joe Henderson as well as absorbing some of the harmonic concepts of Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock.
Fifteen years with saxist Don Rendell was a great opportunity to perfect his group jazz and accompaniment techniques, at the same time developing his individual solo style. As Steve Herberman said “His playing features an imaginative harmonic palette, lightning fast runs interjected between dense chordal textures and sensitive accompanying when playing with a group. The history of jazz guitar is present in his playing yet he looks towards modern jazz pianists to push the envelope.”
Maurice Summerfield, author of "Barney Kessel, A Jazz Legend" added “Without doubt one of the best jazz guitar solo recordings I have heard in the last 60+ years. Great guitar sound combined with a wonderful mastery of the fingerboard....”




26/07/2018 Brian Morton

He doesn’t “shred”. He doesn’t do Radiohead tunes (as far as I know). He doesn’t seem to carry a suitcase of effect pedals. Maybe this is why Esmond Selwyn is not (yet) a headline name, as least not in the usual prints. It’s clear from the messages and endorsements printed on these two discs – from Peter Vacher, Digby Fairweather, Dave Liebman, Freddie King – that the Englishman is highly respected by fellow musicians and particularly where guitarists are gathered. There’s a lot of listening here, although no longeurs and you won’t have to listen long before wondering why you are not regularly reading rave reviews about the guy.
Selwyn’s gift isn’t so much his guitar-playing as his natural facility with harmony. He has a complete intuitive approach to the progress of a chord, its changing colouration and its appropriate dynamics. Listening to him on All Blues or unaccompanied on Polkadots and Moonbeams is a bit like watching one of those chromatophoric sea creatures whose skin ripples with deceptive colour change. Like Selwyn, they’re mostly shy creatures that don’t seek the spotlight, or the predatory attention of the media in his case, but the analogy holds more literally, too. Selwyn has an uncanny knack for colouring a chord without appearing to do anything more than finger it and pick or strum. Some of the group tracks on Renegade (and I’m still wondering why the album is called that) stretch to more than 10 minutes, but none of them, even the more generic read of the Parker line, flags in invention for a second. Some of these interpretations are definitive, for my money, I don’t expect to hear Nancy done any better than this, and the breeze of Fine & Dandy suggests that there’s a touch of humour underneath the mostly serious surface.
Great stuff. Private Eye has rightly outlawed “national treasure” as an honorific but here’s a worthy exception. Brian Morton Jazz Journal August 2018.


02/06/2018 Guido Festinese

As Esmond Selwyn touches 70, the lord of guitarists keeps his form.
This is his second guitar record in perfect solitude, thirteen years after ‘The Axe’.
If possible, Selwyn's sound is further improved: I'm reminded of the surprising harmonic reinvention of continuous jets here operated in standards as well as Misty, Body & Soul, Just Friends.
Selwyn is today an absolute master, with a control over the sound made of wisdom and relaxation.
Guido Festinese, Alias / Il Manifesto June 2, 2018.


01/05/2018 Vittorio Lo Conte

Fra i più interessanti chitarristi del panorama internazionale è certamente da mettere l’inglese Esmond Selwin, che, un discoo dopo l’altro, dimostra di essere uno dei grandi del mainstream contemporaneo. Forse non gli giova risiedere in UK piuttosto che a New York, ciò non toglie però nulla al suo virtuosismo ed alla sua capacità di suonare gli standard come pochi. Questa volta è in solo, una prova che ci ricorda alcune delle esibizioni di Joe Pass, in uno stile simile a quello del grande chitarrista americano, ma con una sua personalità piuttosto spiccata. Nei sedici brani scelti mette in mostra una fantasia senza confini, una conoscenza delle armonie immensa, riesce in pratica a creare qualcosa di nuovo in ogni brano, anche se è stato eseguito migliaia di volte. C’è di tutto in queste esecuzioni, compresa una musicalità ed una raffinatezza che affascinano non solo i cultori dello strumento, ma anche gli ascoltatori che apprezzano il genere mainstream. Sono standard conosciuti, c’è la bossa nova di Blue Bossa, qualche brano più antico come Ain’t Misbehavin’ di Fats Waller scritto nel 1929, una ballad come Body and Soul, su tutto ovviamente l’enorme perizia dell’esecutore!
Vittorio Lo Conte http://www.musiczoom.it/?p=29195#.WwFEoHovzct

Among the most interesting guitarists on the international scene is certainly the Englishman Esmond Selwin, who, one record after another, proves to be one of the greats of the contemporary mainstream. Perhaps it is not good for him to reside in the UK rather than in New York, but this does not detract from his virtuosity and his ability to play the standards as few. This time it is solo, a rehearsal that reminds us of some of Joe Pass's performances, in a style similar to that of the great American guitarist, but with a rather strong personality. In the sixteen selected pieces he shows off a boundless fantasy, a knowledge of immense harmonies, he manages to create something new in every song, even if it has been performed thousands of times. There is everything in these performances, including a musicality and a refinement that fascinate not only the lovers of the instrument, but also the listeners who appreciate the mainstream genre. They are known standards, there is the bossa nova of Blue Bossa, some older songs like Is not Misbehavin 'by Fats Waller written in 1929, a ballad like Body and Soul, on everything obviously the enormous expertise of the performer!


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