Ralf Illenberger – Soleil

Ralf Illenberger - SoleilAfter his 1990 album veered away in a very different direction from Circle, Ralf thankfully drifted somewhat closer to the styles he explored in his debut album with his latest release to date. There is a greater emphasis on jazz elements than the second album’s rockier feel, which is as it should be – Illenberger’s music is much more suited to jazz. If anything, this album offers quite a few surprises, including the addition of vocalist Susan Osborn and more keyboards and piano than previous albums. The rating: 4 out of 4only problem with Soleil is that it has been Illenberger’s last album to date – and considering the promise that this one showed, that’s a crying shame. If you liked Circle, you’ll love this.

  1. First Beam (1:43)
  2. Dancing Kachinas (3:22)
  3. Thin Blood (4:18)
  4. Soleil (5:28)
  5. Order this CD You and I (4:38)
  6. Nightfall (2:51)
  7. Dark Glow (6:15)
  8. Traveler in Time (5:04)
  9. Sunstorm (5:24)
  10. Quiet Morning (6:21)
  11. Southwest (4:52)

Released by: Narada
Release date: 1993
Total running time: 50:16

Ralf Illenberger – Heart & Beat

Ralf Illenberger - Heart & BeatThough this album was my introduction to Ralf Illenberger, it pales in comparison to his other works. There seemed to be a conscious attempt with Heart & Beat to veer toward a more rock-influenced sound, and while Ralf can manage that style of playing as deftly as he can jazz, it’s such a disappointment to hear him trying to step into that genre. Still, there are good tunes on here.

rating: 2 out of 4

  1. Heart & Beat (4:52)
  2. Love Bird (3:43)
  3. Forrest (4:46)
  4. Fun Tango (4:50)
  5. A Sunday At Home (4:00)
  6. A Heart Rocks (3:28)
  7. Eastern Boardwalk (5:52)
  8. Order this CD Sign Of Horus (3:36)
  9. Marimba (Rain Dance) (2:58)

Released by: Narada
Release date: 1990
Total running time: 38:05

Ralf Illenberger – Circle

Ralf Illenberger - CircleIf you haven’t heard of this guy, you’re in a sadly deprived majority. Illenberger’s probably the best white jazz guitarist working today, and his style is truly unique. Whatever it is he does, it achieves wonderfully listenable results. His agility with a good riff salvages most of this album from ever being background music. And it’s still probably his best overall album to date. The album’s title track is a wonder of multi-tracked guitars which wander in a sort of musical circle, a theme which pops up throughout the album rating: 4 out of 4and is best exemplified in “Gemina”. “Blue Darkness” and “Ballad” are two other amazing pieces of music. Definitely one for my Damn Near Perfect Album List, and I strongly urge you to seek it out and get hooked on Ralf.

Order this CD

  1. Horizons I (5:15)
  2. Blue Darkness (4:56)
  3. Big Change (6:19)
  4. Jump (5:31)
  5. Gemina (4:28)
  6. Moonfood (3:21)
  7. Nightflight (6:25)
  8. Ballad (3:49)
  9. Horizons II (4:24)

Released by: Narada
Release date: 1988
Total running time: 44:45