Marc Antoine — My Classical Way

Sept. 1, 2010

Guitarist Marc Antoine presents his latest release, My Classical Way, as Marc Antoine in a brand new light, and in many ways, that’s true, but, for you who hope to not lose the guitarist’s trademark exotic magic and finesse, trust me when I say it is all still very much intact. Be not misled by the word “classical.” This is not to be taken completely literally. Are there classical elements? Oh, most definitely. In fact, the entire project is a dedication to the classical greats (Mozart, Bach, Chopin, Vivaldi, Pachelbel, Bizet, etc.).  However, before you get some image of a classical concerto that may serenade you to la-la land (if you’re not a classical music fan, that is), there is an abundance of Antoine elements and influences here to remind you that this is, indeed, the Frenchman’s production, as the exoticism of the Brazilian and Latin influences will demonstrate immediately from the opening track, “Carmen B.”  There are interpretations, and then there are grand experiences. Consider this the latter.  In that way, this is quite different from previous Antoine ventures.
Receiving some exemplary help from a fellow countryman, keyboardist Philippe Saisse, as well as fine vocalists Jasmine Roy and Rebeca Vega, Antoine paints some of the most vibrant interpretations of a most delicate musical period.  A marvelous example of Antoine’s interpretive skills would be what he does with Pachelbel’s “Canon.”  Of course, the original composer would have stared at any of us as if we were aliens at the mention of funk, bounce, and thickness if we used those terms in reference to a piece of music, especially if we were talking about covering his own!  Well, these would be the precise terms needed to describe what Antoine has incorporated here to give this piece a whole new feel.  Maybe Pachelbel would even approve! 

Then, there’s the romance, Antoine-style, of “Wolfgang 40” (ah, the affair Antoine has with his guitar is simply undeniable).  A big “ditto” for “Rodrigo’s Concierto.” Both of these are easily among my favs here.

So it is with much of this CD.  The rhythms, phrasings, and interpretations are all undoubtedly meant to be complimentary, and complimentary they are, in my opinion, not only to the greats they honor but to the artist who chose to honor them. — Ronald Jackson