Original Release Date: 1978
Current Artist Web Site: http://www.degrassi.com/
Turning: Turning Back is Alex De Grassi’s first album and the fourth album issued on the Windham Hill label. This is a gorgeous solo acoustic guitar recording. In many ways it sets the tone for the remainder of what I consider to be the high period of the Windham Hill label.
De Grassi’s playing is technically deft, without being showy, creating a sound that flows and bubbles like water in a rocky brook, or sparkles like sunlight on aspen leaves – always engaging and thoughtful, and consistently filled with beauty and a positive energy.
This is a defining Windham Hill outing, but unfortunately not currently in print or available digitally.
Regarding other early Windham Hill releases, De Grassi says they are “Out of print and owned by Windham Hill/BMG. I can’t legally make them available. we’ve tried unsuccessfully to license them back. So, i might re-record them, but I can’t make them available as a digital download–sorry. Perhaps they will become available as individual pieces as downloads from Windham Hill,”
The recording quality is faultless with De Grassi’s guitar close-miked at the same San Mateo studio where William Ackerman’s first albums were recorded. Mastering by Stan Ricker and pressing by RTI of Camarillo makes the vinyl pressings similar to many Mobile Fidelity audiophile reissues.
In his Innerviews interview, De Grassi says of the album: “Turning: Turning Back really reflects a very personal approach to playing guitar and music in general,” he said. “People couldn’t put their finger on the genre. It came out before people called anything New Age. There were guitar influences from the British Isles like John Renbourn and Bert Jansch. I was listening to a lot of Keith Jarrett’s solo piano stuff at the time too. I really admired his playing and solo improvisations that cut across a lot of different lines and styles. Although it was jazz, it had a lot of qualities that were indefinable and indescribable. I think that was a very encouraging thing.”
Below is a terrific audio-only interview which begins with Alex talking about learning guitar and some of the things he brought to the recording of “Turning: Turning Back”.
Credits / Track Listing
- Turning (2:50) 1976
- Swordfish (2:53) 1977
- Luther’s Lullaby (2:49) 1975
- Blood and Jasmine (4:29) 1977
- Window (4:20) 1976
- Children’s Dance (2:38) 1974
- Waltz and March of the Rhinoceri (2:40) 1975
- Alpine Medley (2:16) 1971-73
- Autumn Song (3:25) 1975
- Turning Back (5:22) 1977
- Recorded at Mantra Studios, San Mateo, CA
- Engineered and mixed by Scott Saxon
- Mastered by Stan Ricker
- Pressings by Record Technology Inc.
- Produced by Scott Saxon
- Photography by Ron May
- Design by Jay Watkins
- All compositions by Alex De Grassi
- All selections Windham Hill Music BMI
- Manufactured by Windham Hill Records
- Box 9388 Stanford, CA 94305
- © (p) Windham Hill Records 1978