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Album Review

This 1974 album was given a well-deserved boost when ECM reissued it in 2001. It's a solo performance with a twist: Towner plays not only 12-string and classical guitars, but also very competent piano. Only "Entry in a Diary" and "Mon Enfant" are unaccompanied guitar solos; the latter, a traditional melody, is also the sole non-original. On four of the remaining six tracks, Towner accompanies himself via overdubs, playing both guitar and piano for an effect vaguely reminiscent of Bill Evans' Conversations With Myself. The best of these is "Icarus," one of Towner's best-known compositions, which also appeared on Matchbook, his 1976 duo album with Gary Burton. The guitarist's most unusual moves include playing a set of gongs behind his sparse 12-string work on "Images Unseen," and using his guitar entirely as a percussion instrument to create a propulsive rhythm track for "Erg." He closes with a tuneful solo piano piece titled "The Silence of a Candle." The reissue of Diary was timed to coincide with Towner's 2001 solo outing, Anthem. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Pure bliss

I first heard this album in 1976 and it has remained one of my favorites of all time. Ethereal and evocative, it is the Towner album all other must be judged by.


Born: March 1, 1940 in Chehalis, WA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the founders of Oregon, Ralph Towner is one of the few modern jazz musicians to specialize in acoustic guitar. His playing often stretches beyond the boundaries of conventional jazz into world music and is quite distinctive. He started playing piano when he was three and trumpet at five, performing in a dance band when he was 13. Towner studied classical guitar in Vienna and played with classical chamber groups in the mid-'60s. After moving to New York in 1969, Towner worked with Jimmy Garrison,...
Full Bio
Diary, Ralph Towner
View in iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 1973

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