15 Songs, 55 Minutes

TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
8 Ratings

8 Ratings

KathyPiano7 ,

From MainlyPiano

I have been a big fan of Lawrence Blatt’s music since his first solo guitar album of original compositions, "Out of the Woodwork," landed in my mailbox almost ten years ago. "Longitudes and Latitudes" is his third album recorded (mostly) at Imaginary Road Studios and produced by Will Ackerman. Five years in the making, this album is a celebration of many of the places Blatt has visited around the world and the rich beauty and diversity of our planet. The album features fourteen original pieces and one arrangement (“Over the Rainbow”) performed on a variety of guitars and other instruments by Blatt and the always exceptional group of collaborating artists at Imaginary Road. The great Premik Russell Tubbs (sax and electric woodwinds) appears on five tracks, giving the overall album a jazzy, upbeat feeling that I really like. Blatt always has intriguing liner notes with his albums, and this time he includes the places that inspired each piece with their longitudes and latitudes as well as the guitar tunings for each piece.

"Longitudes and Latitudes" begins with “Two Shades of Sunshine,” an easy-going jazz piece that puts Premik Russell Tubbs out in front on alto sax. Acoustic guitar (Blatt), Hammond organ (Tom Eaton), piano (Kelly Park), electric bass (Sam Bevan) and percussion (Jeff Haynes) get this one effortlessly soaring skyward. The title track features Blatt on three different guitars along with Ackerman, Park, Bevan, and Haynes. Rhythmic yet relaxed, it’s a soothing toe-tapper. “A Place In Your Heart” has Blatt on three guitars and synth plus Tubbs on electric woodwind playing a gently-swaying slow dance that is oh so romantic. “Open Fields and Running Water” features Kori Linae Carothers making a guest appearance on piano, along with Ackerman and Jeff Oster (flugelhorn). “Two Steps Down the Line” was inspired by the breezy attitude of Blatt’s hometown, San Francisco. The dreamy “Morning In Beerse” is one of three solos by Blatt and makes me wish there were more solos on the album. “Noches de Barcelona” is a really big, exuberant piece that all but dances out of the music player. Blatt performs on two guitars and charengo, Carothers returns on piano, Charlie Bisharat and Lila Sklar on violins, Oster on trumpet, Jim Rothermel on sax, Bevan on acoustic bass and Haynes on percussion. What a great example of the joy of making music! “Flying Over Elis Island” returns to a jazzier style with Blatt, Bisharat and Rothermel (clarinet) leading the way and Park cooking on both piano and drum kit. Reminiscent of a more innocent time, I love this one! My favorite on the album is “Slow Walk Past the Bank,” which features Blatt on three guitars, synth and synth-vibraphone; Tubbs on sax, Park on piano, Eaton on organ, Bevan on electric bass and Haynes on percussion. What makes this one different is the “electric surf guitar” and sax passages - worth the price of the album right there! The final track is Blatt’s expressive arrangement of “Over the Rainbow” for solo ukulele - a poignant ending to an excellent album!

"Longitudes and Latitudes" is a great album! My only complaint is that I wish Blatt had more guitar solos on the album, but the ensembles are very exciting! Very highly recommended!

thedigitalimager ,

Musical Journey

A masterfully crafted album and one of those rare compositions that you can enjoy listening to all day. Highly recommended!

CandiceMichelle1 ,

Review from Journeyscapes Radio

San Francisco-based musician and composer, Lawrence Blatt, plays an impressive myriad of both acoustic and electric guitars on his latest album, ‘Longitudes & Latitudes’. Produced by Will Ackerman and recorded at his own Imaginary Road studios in Vermont, Ackerman also lends both acoustic and electric guitars on a few of the compositions. Also joining the musical line-up are Jeff Haynes on percussion, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn and trumpet, Premik Russell Tubbs on electric woodwind and saxophone, Sam Bevan on bass, Eugene Friesen on cello, Charlie Bisharat on violin, and both Kori Linae Carothers and Kelly Park on piano, as well as several others.

A lively mood introduces “Two Shades of Sunshine”, which is carried along by strumming acoustic guitar and a lead saxophone melody, as the composition is additionally joined by piano, organ, percussion and bass. Celebratory and upbeat, the piece combines elements of smooth jazz, acoustic Americana and contemporary instrumental in a blending of styles that characterizes much of the album. The carefree and leisurely “Longitudes and Latitudes” follows next, which is easily one of my favorites. Seasoned with a Bossa Nova flavor, the song is guided by a lovely melody of both acoustic and electric guitar which are joined by piano courtesy of Kelly Park, along with bass and percussion. “Open Fields and Running Water” is also a particular highlight featuring both acoustic and electric guitars, as well as Jeff Oster on flugelhorn and Kori Linae Carothers on piano. “Morning in Beerse” is one of two interlude-like tracks (the other being “The Places Left Behind) which showcase acoustic guitar solos that make for welcoming gentle pauses. “Upon Griffy Lake” is another personal favorite, once again highlighting both acoustic and electric guitars. Here Eugene Friesen additionally provides cello, as Noah Wilding’s wordless airy vocals likewise grace this reflective and gently rhythmic piece. I’m also quite fond of “Park Lane”, a cozily warm and comforting piece that reminds me of taking a refreshing evening stroll. In addition to guitars, piano and percussion, we’re once again treated to flugelhorn courtesy of Jeff Oster, as well as muted trumpet. The savory flamenco-flavored, “Noches de Barcelona”, is potentially the album’s most captivating moment, which feels like travelling back in time to a romantic destination located by the seaside. Here Lawrence plays nylon-stringed and baritone guitars, as well as Charengo (a small Andean stringed instrument), where he is additionally joined by a lively ensemble of piano, violin, trumpet, saxophone, bass and percussion. Winding things down is a solo ukulele rendition of Harold Arlen’s “Over the Rainbow”. Peaceful, innocent and lullaby-like, Lawrence’s beautiful reinterpretation of this much beloved classic feels like being gently tucked into bed.

Inspired by a love of global travel, including some of his favorite places around the world, Lawrence Blatt and company have highlighted a diverse range of musical styles throughout these fifteen compositions. Sure to appeal to many avid guitar fans, ‘Longitudes & Latitudes’ is a thoroughly enjoyable contemporary instrumental album defined by both lively festivities and tender moments of reflection!

More By Lawrence Blatt