The Shadow of Your Smile
The second of a series of pop songs given a jazzy acoustic approach, Michael Marc collaborates with fellow guitarist Wesley Orsolic to create a total labor of love. On the surface, these are accessible, easy-listening versions of beloved and highly familiar compositions but that would be ignoring the artistry on display here.
Marc plays with a poet’s ear for spellbinding drama; every chord drips with emotion, producing shimmering, cinematic images, especially the raindrop reflections of “All the Things You Are.” “Girl from Ipanema” is slower here as Marc concentrates more on relaxing the listener than on reproducing the song’s initially devilishly danceable groove. Likewise, John Lennon’s “Imagine” is expressed through a web of mellow, interlocking acoustic guitars instead of its original pensive piano. According to the sleeve notes, neither Marc nor Orsolic rehearsed these tracks prior to recording them; furthermore, there were no cuts or edits. That helps explain how fluid these songs sound; it all goes down smoothly.
Maybe it’s just the mood I’m already in, but I do sense some melancholy in these reworkings. Charles Chaplin’s “Smile,” for instance, has a lovelorn aura to it. However, no matter what you are currently feeling — here in the Pacific Northwest, the holidays have a mournful, sentimental ambience — this is music that will make you unwind.
Arrow Records: www.arrowrec.com