But Beautiful

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Criss Cross dist Harmonia Mundi
PERFORMER: Jimmy Raney


Jimmy Raney is one of the key figures in the development of the electric guitar in jazz. In the years following the Second World War, his slimmed- down tone, fast-moving melodic lines and profound harmonic understanding of the implications of bop became basic study material for generations of guitarists. His career was such that he seemed to achieve too much too soon.


After a meteoric career that involved stints with Stan Getz, Woody Herman, Al Haig, Artie Shaw and Red Norvo he moved to Louisville, Kentucky, and a kind of obscurity that has almost succeeded in wiping the ledger clean of his accomplishments. Yet he remains capable of creating fascinating cameos of suspended valediction. Recorded in 1990 when he was 65, Raney’s once legendary virtuosity has coalesced into the refined, potent lyricism that maturity brings. Contrasting ‘less is more’ with dynamic multi-note squalls, a legend reawakens. Stuart Nicholson