Ulf Wakenius Solo: Momento Magico
Best known for his long time collaboration with Oscar Peterson and his quartet the guitarist Ulf Wakenius has released a solo album titled “Momento Magico“. On the album he plays steel string, nylon string & bass guitar, all of them acoustic.
Here's how Wakenius explains what the "momento magico" refers to: “I was blessed to experience such moments (magical) in my work with wonderful artists like Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Youn Sun Nah and others“. Symbolically thus the new album “Momento Magico“ is about "the rare and extraordinary moments outside the bounds of time and space that stay with you throughout an entire musical life".
Most of the compositions on the solo album are by Wakenius himself, and if not dedicated to some near person, the pieces carry world-music rather than jazz connotations (India, Mali, China, Russia, France).
More essential to the album is Wakenius exploring the acoustic guitar and "what natural sounds one can create on the great instrument". Quite often, a pattern even, the high strings are used to play quiet, melodic solos while the bass strings pounds like a steam locomotive, the impression getting emphasized by the echo used.
The album is stylistically uniform, maybe too much so, the pieces loosing their independent character as the music moves on (having less surprise value). I personally found myself liking better those compositions in which the bass line was less furious.
There's no doubt however that Wakenius is a virtuosic guitar player that appears to be equally good at one string solos as with chord-based solos, not to mention his sense of soulful, not pointless solos. For friends of solo guitar music the album definitely is worth closer familiarization.