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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

Lawson Rollins

By Dave Flynn
Published August 21, 2008

Infinita Records

As one half of the guitar duo Young & Rollins, Lawson Rollins established himself as an acoustic guitarist who could fuse the primal fire of flamenco with the modern aesthetic context of new age. On this solo debut, the collaborations this time come from a dozen different musicians (including Brazilians Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, Persian-American producerguitarist Shahin Shadha, and violinist Charlie Bisharat). The album treads a fine line throughout—one where Rollins or any of the other soloists steps up just when the arrangements start to ease off the gas. There’s also a breadth to the music here the album moves from an opening bossa nova to Spanish flavors to Indian ragas to Persian tonalities (thanks to kamanche player Imamyar Hassanov), often with seamless ease. They’re not quite cast in the “shredder flamenco” mold of such progressive acts as Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Rollins and company nonetheless offer a skilled and graceful fusion that should cause many listeners to sit up and take notice.