Prélude by Michael Sheridan
Artist Website: www.michaelsheridanmusic.com
Montagne Ste Genevieve – Django Reinhardt (as performed by Stephane Wrembel)
Cello Suite No 3 – J.S. Bach
El Choclo – Angel Villoldo (arr. Roland Dyens)
Nuages – Django Reinhardt (arr. Roland Dyens)
Choros No 1 – Heitor Villa Lobos
The Expatriates – Michael Sheridan
Felicidade – Antonio Carlos Jobim (arr. Roland Dyens)
Una Limosna por el Amor de Dios – Agustin Barrios Mangore
Tango en Skai – Roland Dyens
Berceuse Diurne – Roland Dyens (dedicated to Michael Sheridan)
NYC guitarist Michael Sheridan recently released an album of mixed classical guitar favourites and arrangements of jazz and Latin American hits. From Django Reinhardt, Roland Dyens, to Villa-Lobos this album has some serious appeal. One thing I like about the album is the nice recording sound – almost zero background noise and a beautiful guitar sound – and the mix of jazz style arrangements to formally composed music. Reinhardt is one of my personal favourites so I was very excited to hear this album.
Most of the arrangements are by the great French guitarist Roland Dyens and that adds a touch of weight to the tracks since many listeners are familiar with his success. Sheridan’s performance of Nuages really shines for its cool feel and elaborate delivery. Montagne Ste Genevieve would not have worked for me but since it was the opening track it was a nice way to kick off the album with a relaxed and meandering start before getting more heated up. It also showcases Sheridan’s pleasant sound and shaping of melodic lines.
El Choclo was a good one! Sheridan is great at making clear musical ideas in terms of contrast and form. The moods are nice and easy to jump onto and he is not afraid to push out notes, get in your face, or be flamboyant when needed! I also love his great glissandos and fun little ornaments.
The Villa-lobos was also fun track. Sheridan takes much more rubato than I’m used to but it made listening to the track a fresh and enjoyable experience. Too many people rip through this work without having fun with the repetitive form.
The Expatriates, written by Sheridan is a sorrowful little work but not without beauty or moments of hope. The language is fairly traditional with some nice jazzy chords and lines in there. He has an excellent sense of forward momentum. This was a nice touch to the album and gives us a closer look at the performer/musician.
The best tracks on the album are the Dyens pieces. Sheridan has a talent for creating moods and soundscapes well suited to the compositions. There are moments of fun, extroverted gestures but then darkened, Earthy moments! I imagine Dyens himself has noticed this as there is a piece by the composer dedicated to Sheridan. Berceuse Diurne is a beauty of a piece and Sheridan does a fine job of the piece. This track really shows a nice gentle side to his playing and is a wonderful ending track. Buy this album for the joy of hearing the Dyens and arrangements as we could all learn a lesson from Sheridan’s keen sense of musical gestures. Love it!
By the way, this album was part of a KickStarter, you can check out the thank you’s on Sheridan’s website here.
Sheridan is a great player when he’s in his element. All the jazz, latin, and Dyens worked wonderfully. Sheridan has a wide range of emotion and musical playing. His ability to colour the music and create simple and effective moods for the listener is rock-solid.
A very enjoyable album for music lovers and guitarists alike. Plus a dedicated piece by Roland Dyens! That alone makes it a worthy album for the library. Sheridan should be on the radar of those looking for an album or concert performance that will charm audiences and show the versatile and diverse world of classical guitar. I’m really looking forward to another release from Sheridan.