Nicolas Meier ‘Journey’ (MGP) 3/5

Swiss guitarist Nicolas Meier is a former Berklee school of music in Boston alumni like Gary Burton and Pat Metheny, and along with pianist Reinoso whom he met while a student there, has produced his fourth album which sounds very much like a mix of world roots with Turkish music predominant and Pat Metheny influences. Among guest musicians, Gilad Atzmon is featured on clarinet and saxophones and he works extremely well in this context. The jazzy opener ‘Sunrise’ impresses with an acoustic guitar solo and there is sensitive accompaniment too from Atzmon. The more traditional Turkish folk intro to ‘Journey’ with chorus into the bargain leads directly into a contemporary jazz piece where the comparison with Metheny is all too real and the pianist in particular has a definite penchant for Lyle Mays. The suites display both intimacy and introspection without absolutely enthralling the listener with Part IV probably the pick of the bunch highlighting some delicate flamenco-style guitar soloing from Meier. In general this is a pleasant album rather than an outstanding one and a grittier feel to proceedings might be in order for the future. Nonetheless the idea of fusing jazz and Turkish folk is an excellent one and an avenue that Meier should certainly continue to pursue. The evocative cover features a painting from Meier’s Turkish wife Songul.

Tim Stenhouse