Is the guitar today’s universal instrument? Actually, the voice is our first and most universal instrument, but the guitar could follow shortly behind it. In permutations from the oud to the cittern, zither, bouzouki and many others, portable stringed instruments are easy to transport and play while singing. These instruments including today’s modern guitars are versatile in all styles of music.
This morning’s 89.1 Jazz premiere, Lone Prairie by guitarist Corey Christiansen is an excellent example of the guitar’s flexibility and the way the repertoire continues to develop. Corey Christiansen has been on the WEMU playlist for years, generally in a mainstream jazz, swing or organ combo concept. Lone Prairie is a delightful new direction for Mr. Christiansen which is actually a return to his earliest musical form. He revisits the cowboy songs of his youth in the mountains of Southern Utah. His tune selection is intriguing. Streets Of Laredo, El Paso, Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie and Red River Valley are some of the county classics that Christian casts through a modern jazz lens.
With three originals and original musical minds such as pianist Steve Allee and drummer Matt Jorgensen assisting, Lone Prairie is a top-notch jazz recording of essential American music. Christiansen has studied important many American guitar masters: George Van Eps, Charlie Christian, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessell and Johnny Smith and their devotees such as Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell. He puts this history together with personal prowess and sincere appreciation for his material to present a probing, yet intimate listening experience with Lone Prairie.