• Jonathan Widran

WILL ACKERMAN, Positano Songs

One of contemporary instrumental music’s greatest gifts has been the constant flow of artists offering their music in service of themes tying into and celebrating the majestic beauty of different landscapes and specific geographic spots. While musical interpretations of the art of nature are always lovely and inspiring, they sometimes feel like the creative fulfillment of a marketing assignment rather than a humble expression of an artist’s soul. There’s something far more compelling, emotional and soul stirring about Positano Songs, legendary GRAMMY®-winning guitarist (and Windham Hill co-founder) Will Ackerman’s first official solo album in over ten years.

It’s as if he’s inviting us not only to share his awe at the breath-taking views and quaint charm of Positano, a small town on the Amalfi coast, but offering us an exclusive, intimate invitation to experience how his years-long love affair with the place and its people have transformed him spiritually. It’s not just about a visceral sensory response to the imagery but an interior view of what makes Ackerman tick as an artist – and how the magic of his time there has impacted him like nothing else.


As we listen to the gently lilting melodies and intricate, magnificently effortless and intuitive chordal patterns of meditative pieces like “Nighttime in the Chapel” (a soft spoken reflection of the sacred space where he married his wife Susan), “Did I Dream This” (chronicling the pursuit of a song so distant and elusive he wondered if he dreamed it) and “For Carmine” (a thoughtful tribute to his oldest and dearest friend in Positano), the experience blissfully transcends the normal parameters of musical landscape photography.


On pieces like “The End of the Day” (a subtle reminiscence about dinner at da Vicenzo), “This is Where It Begins” (about a drive that ultimately reveals the overwhelming totality of the Amalfi Coast) and the landmark where you are ”Passing Baldo’s Tower,” Ackerman treats our senses exterior and interior magic and how the senses connect to the heart.

Though presented as a Will Ackerman solo album (as opposed to the all-star ensemble FLOW and his recent GRAMMY®-nominated Brothers project), Positano song features richly textured, intricate interactions with his longtime righthand man, co-producer and keyboardist Tom Eaton and two brilliant musicians who have long been part of Ackerman’s creative orbit, violinist Charlie Bisharat (who creates stunning, sweeping complementary counter-melodies on tunes like “The End of the Day” and “Our Wedding Song”) and cellist Eugene Friesen, who adds haunting shadings to “The Tyrrhenian Sea” and “Did I Dream This.”


It's worth noting that fans can request signed CDs on Bandcamp (https://williamackerman.bandcamp.com/album/positano-songshttps://williamackerman.bandcamp.com/album/positano-songs), and there will be a vinyl record available later in 2022.