by Karl Nehring
Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006 9 (Lute Suite No. 4); Sonata No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1005; Sonata No.1 in G minor, BWV 1001. Jason Vieaux, guitar. Azica Records ACD-71347
One of the first questions that springs to mind when encountering a Volume 2 of anything is, “what about Volume 1?” In the case of this new release from the American guitarist Jason Vieaux (b. 1973), you won’t have to wait long for the answer, for here is how he kicks off his liner note essay: “So, ‘Bach Volme 2'… this would indicate there was some kind of a ‘Volume 1,’ right?... some background is needed for anyone who cares to read about the genesis of this particular release. Indeed it’s been well over a decade since the 2009 issue of three lute works of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), Bach Vol. 1, Works for Lute, was out on Azica. The idea Azica and I had back then was that there would eventually be a Volume 2, which would complete the ‘lute’ set by making a ‘violin’ record that included BWV 1006, which is both the 3rd Violin Partita and the 4th Lute Suite. Well, ‘eventually’ turned out to be about 13 years, 2 kids, 700 more gigs, and over 8 hours of commercial releases later.” Although I did wonder a bit myself about Volume 1, having never encountered it, I was already familiar with Vieaux’s playing, having first discovered him on a CD he had released well before Bach Volume 1, his marvelous collection of music by jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, titled Images of Metheny (Azica ACD 71233). That recording from 2005 includes 13 Metheny compositions that Vieaux interprets on classical guitar, including five songs Vieaux arranged into the form of a baroque suite. It’s a real gem of a recording that should appeal to appeal to jazz and classical guitar fans alike, well worth tracking down. Years later, Metheny returned the compliment, dedicating a composition for solo classical guitar titled Four Paths of Light to Vieaux and inviting Vieaux to record it for inclusion on Metheny’s 2021 album Road to the Sun (reviewed here), an album that marked Metheny’s first foray into classical composition.