Andreas Hagiioannu – Far and Wide

Andreas Hagiioannu
Far and Wide
by Barry Johnson

I’m not usually a fan of jazz guitar, but that’s because most jazz guitarists aren’t Andreas Hagiioannu. He plays in the laid-back, Wes Montgomery-influenced style that often bores me, but his rich, warm tone is enchanting, and every note rings true. Sweet grooves and tasty, tasteful playing that just keeps rolling along serving up a lovely set that feels right in the pocket throughout.

The artist intersperses the proceedings with somber, acoustic and electric solo endeavors, often transmitting a folksy edge, marked by meticulously designed chord progressions. His rhythm section doesn’t overexcite or intrude as they maintain the syncopated rhythms with flair and eloquence. On the piece “Look Both Ways,” Hagiioannu pursues a walking motif due to his dainty, finger-style voicings.

And while this release marks his debut effort as a solo artist here, the guitarist sports a crystalline sound on electric, summoning notions of Burrell and Wes Montgomery in spots. Hagiioannu chooses his notes wisely via a profoundly lyrical mode of attack. He uses space as a vehicle for conveying a sense of openness and reflection.

Overall, the music iterated here fits snugly within the mainstream jazz mold. No frills or revolutionary processes on hand. However, Haggiioannu communicates a radiant tone to coincide with his in-depth knowledge of the jazz vernacular. It’s a pleasant surprise for 2007.