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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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Bohemian Boulevard
By Andre Feriante
Label: Lumar Recordings
Released 6/15/2005
Bohemian Boulevard tracks
1. Bohemian Boulevard  
2. Spanish Rhapsody  
3. Malaguena (Sunrise)  
4. Malaguena (Moonrise)  
5. Preludio No. 1  
6. Transcendental Lane  
7. Melancholy Avenue  
8. A Gypsy in Paris  
9. Elysian Fields  
10. Santa Fe Blues  
11. Samba de Alma  
12. The Velvet Carousel  
13. The Lotus Song  
14. Juliet of the Snow  
15. Love's Farewell  
An Exercise in Spanish Guitar Perfection
Andre Feriante - his style is so perfect, so precise and fresh that I had to go back into my cassettes and judge it against something I knew. It reminded me of the 1970's Christopher Parkening Album and some of John Barry's Spanish guitar albums. Now I am not making a comparison, it is just that I have not been so impressed with a Classical Spanish guitar performance since I can't remember when. Feriante's new album Bohemian Boulevard is a serious study in the classics, but with a surgeon's touch and a poet's soul. It enamors not only complex classical pieces, but Feriante's own spectacular improvisations using emotional themes of World music.

The title tune Bohemian Boulevard is energy converted to music. The lively tone reflects the gypsy's joy of living and their tendency to wander in the world in search of happiness. The tune smiles most of the time, but there is an emotional beauty to it when you listen closer.

Two outstanding tracks on the album are Malaguena (Sunrise) Lecuona and Malaguena (Moonrise) Lecuona. Featuring Andre's incredible improvisational stylings, these two tunes are a tribute to one of Cuba greatest composers, Ernesto Lecuona, (Malaguena) who in the 30's and 40's introduced the world to the spicy sound of Cuban influenced music. Both improvisations retain the well-known tanginess of the original movement and yet add a new dimension in complexity. They were two favorites on the album.

An emotional musician walking the streets of the "City of Lights" might be overwhelmed by the fantastic power of history and beauty. Andre captures that sense in a musical snapshot called A Gypsy in Paris. First the visitor is overwhelmed with the towering cathedrals, the museums and the miles of sidewalks with life teeming all around him. Then when the sun goes down there comes the night and the gypsy falls in love. The lights, the life and the love of a Parisian evening beleaguer the senses. That is the story in this music.

The Lotus Song has an animated dignity about it. Not quite Oriental as the title suggests, but with a muted kind of energy. Rising scales portray a bubbling brook filled with life. Colorful fish, lime-green frogs and pale yellow water lilies fills the spirit with calm and vernal beauty.

My absolute favorite track on the album was a touching tune titled Juliet of the Snow. Sad beauty is transposed into silver notes as the mystery of Juliet is proffered. You can see a doleful beauty as she walks the snow bound trail of the northern mountains. She leaves behind the tracks of a heavily burdened heart. The serene beauty of the music makes you beg for more.

Lastly, Feriante closes with the tune Love's Farewell. The sound is one of passion and longing played in sweet, gentle terms as we say goodbye. Andre's clear, sharp tone and precise phrasing would be blessed by Segovia. For me the song could have been a little longer. I didn't mind playing more than once.

Andre Feriante studied in Rome as a teenager. It was not long before he mastered his instrument and performed complex works by Bach and Vivaldi for European audiences. His unique style and talent are in constant demand on several continents.

There is a soulful satisfying purity to Feriante's music. As I said, his tone is sharp and his fretwork is crisp. One guitar has never sounded so many wonderful notes. He is a master craftsman with a satisfying blend of classical and contemporary music.
Rating: Very Good   Very Good
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 10/13/2005
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