Vale of Cashmere
Rich Cohen continues to assert his mastery of diverse acoustic guitar styles, extending the quiet power of his first acoustic guitar release, 2005's Moods And Meditations. In Vale Of Cashmere - written in tribute to a secluded corner of Brooklyn's famous Prospect Park - Rich continues his tonal exploration into the emotional textures of the acoustic, classical and baritone guitars. He evokes the spirit of the American West, Latin America, Central African Plains, India and the Far East. "Spirit" is indeed the word here, for these 13 songs portray inner landscapes that transcend the boundaries of land and culture. Here you find lyrical tone poems ("What Is Where" and "Comes And Goes"), meditative eastern ragas (The Clearing), sultry sambas with a distinct Brazilian flavor (Little Miss Audrey), even Congolese soukous flavors mixed with a danceable Caribbean beat ("Then Came Morning"). How can such exciting music be so calming, so restorative? With the help of Geoff Matoon on sax for one track and Rich's own first-time outing on piano on the final cut ("Page Turn"), Vale Of Cashmere is rich with the timeless sounds of mystery and peace. If you know Rich only from his various Blues based outings, now is the time to acquaint yourself with another side of that fiery musical persona. It's the same soul, the same passion and power, just turned inward. Eleven original compositions (along with "Body And Soul" drawn from the classic jazz songbook and the film noir flavor of Richie Beirach's "Elm") offer yet more proof of Rich's remarkable guitar arranging skills and interpretive musical gifts. Vale Of Cashmere simply defies genre.