My father, who passed away in August, loved classical guitar recordings like Hazar Reincarnated. On his birthday that was one of the very few slam dunks, a sure thing for a man who was “notoriously difficult to buy for,” as my mom often said. I’m thinking about my dad a lot these days–after a couple of months I’m at the point where I’m trying to define the man, and distill his paradoxes into something more manageable. When we were kids we thought our father had pedestrian tastes in music. In the last few years, I’ve been curious about his deep love for Rodrigo and John Williams and Segovia. Where did it come from?
He was, in his youth, a genuine Dust Bowl Okie, a farm boy who went back and forth between OK and CA, a father full of tales about car accidents on Route 66, an ill-advised shotgun blast when a water moccasin jumped into his rowboat, the axe that sliced his knee after a day of chopping wood. There was also the man who became a mechanical draftsman when that was a noble profession, had his name on a few patents, and wound up working in aerospace. He also worked at Disneyland when it opened in 1955, and said he was on a first-name basis with Walt. He loved to draw nature scenes from his boyhood with colored pens. He wanted, deep down, to be an artist. And he loved listening to the classical guitar.
I think my dad would have gone nuts over Hazar Reincarnated. Ulas Hazar, who is a well-known acoustic guitarist known mostly outside of North America, enlisted the help of Al Di Meola, percussionist Mehmet Katay, pianist Mike Roelos and bass clarinetist Pitor Torunski to provide a sort of cross-section of touchstones for the acoustic guitar, Black Orpheus, “Summertime” and more, all played with grace and emotion. It’s even a box set of sorts, with a nice booklet and a second disc for those of you who still listen to Blu-ray Audio. (I try to because of all the 2L Recordings I get.) His companions on this recording know when to join in and then step out, making Hazar Reincarted feel expansive and inclusive.
The sound quality of Hazar Reincarnated is nothing short of first-class. That’s important to me, but not because I’m an audiophile and that’s how I view everything in the world. My father’s hearing was remarkable. As kids, we knew better than to whisper around him. When I became involved in the high-end audio industry, he got it. He would come over to my house and head straight for the listening room. He wanted to hear something. Something good. And if he knocked on my front door right now, Hazar Reincarnated would be the first thing I’d play for him.