Steven Allen Gordon may initially come off as a brusque update of a collection of magnanimously popular Bach and Heitor Villa-Lobos compositions, but at its core, Gordon’s latest is both an atmospheric and urbane delight. On All Over The Map, Gordon has demonstrated his immense presence in the invitational passage to classical and contemporary music. Familiarity and inclusiveness within music are no strange qualities unto Gordon, and through several different modes of instruments, the American polymath provides reassurance in his supreme musical competency.
Gordon’s strong suit doesn’t lie within the interpretation of any one composer or instrument, but in his almost Gothic approach to music that spans centuries. This is not to put down Gordon’s renditions by any means – it simply implies that Gordon’s viola adaptation of a Bach cello suite has a particularly erie piquancy that works oh so well. Similarly, Laurence Juber’s “Breaking Point” finds Gordon’s string guitar skills akin to that a more fatalistic Leo Keottke (old Leo can be a little too ebullient anyhow.)
All Over The Map is anything but what the title implies despite the grand shifts in chronology. Somehow, when Gordon completes the transition from Baroque to Blues, it’s all drawing from the same well – and this shift has perhaps logically never made more sense than when a master such as Gordon lays it out on record.
Part musicology lecture, part personal indulgence, and part intoxicating fancy, All Over The Map requires repeat listenings in order to properly consume the entire project.