Music Review: Guitar Passions with Sharon Isbin and Friends

Jul 19, 2012

Sharon Isbin has created an album that is a nice easy listen, with guitar that is technical and beautiful at the same time.  Her fourteenth album, it is obvious that her talent has not waned, but instead the guitar music community has embraced her and the friends featured on this album are just as virtuous as she is.

While the first two pieces were excellent, the third stood out to me as a show of Isbin’s talent.  Adagio from Concierto de Aranjuez is a Brazilian composition by Joaquin Rodrigo, a composer who brought guitar as a solo instrument with orchestra to popularity.  This is the world premier of a previously unpublished piece, and is the longest song on the album at just over 13 minutes.  This piece also features a soulful electric guitar solo by Steve Morse during the bossa nova near the end.

Sharon Isbin reminds listeners that she studied with Segovia when she plays Asturias by Albéniz.  She is clearly a master of her instrument, switching from classical duets to Brazilian solos to difficult flamenco styles with ease.  All of the pieces on this album show her incredible talent, and she is an inspiration for aspiring guitarist and female musicians.

The friends featured on this album are just as talented as Isbin, though I was surprised to see Steve Vai featured on this album, it was amazing.  Guitar god Steve Vai soloed with Sharon Isbin in the world premier of Allegro by Barrios Mangoré.  Nancy Wilson, half of the rock-duo Heart, does a beautiful rendition of Dreamboat Annie with Sharon Isbin.  Her collaborations are a wonderful addition to her already amazing talent, and her friends make this album a notch better than a pure instrumental solo album.

Sharon Isbin had the possibility for getting another Grammy with the quality of this record.  In my opinion, her talent and with the added bonus of the talented collaborators should have earned her more recognition as she continues to be the face for innovation in classical and Latin guitar playing in American.