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CD REVIEW: MILOŠ – Blackbird: The Beatles Album

| 15 February 2016 | Reply

CD REVIEW: MILOŠ – Blackbird: The Beatles Album
Mercury Classics/ Universal
15 January, 2016
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Milos - The Beatles Album

At only 32 years of age, Montenegrin classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglic was born long after The Beatles ceased to be a band, and readily admits that as a child and teenager he never sought the band’s music out, preferring to concentrate on his classical studies. Those studies took him and his beautiful guitar work to the London Royal Academy Of Music, and henceforth to the top of the classical charts with his 2011 debut album Mediterráneo, and with two albums since.

Blackbird, his fourth opus, sees Karadaglic tackle some of The Fab Four’s biggest and most well-known and adored tracks: a brave feat for anyone.

With a bazillion cover versions of Beatles classics already out there in every conceivable musical style, it would be naïve to suggest that Karadaglic is breaking any new ground here, What he does do – and do with no small amount of masterful skill and beauty – is approach the likes of The Fool On The Hill, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Yesterday, Something, Here Comes The Sun and All My Loving with a deft subtlety that beguiles and entrances the listener.

Quoted on the inner sleeve, Karadaglic declares he wanted “to respect [these songs’] own truth, while giving them a new life through a different medium. The key is simplicity,” and whilst he achieves that, little doubt remains that his sheer skill on his instrument is what makes this record work so well.

Recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studio 2, where most of these songs were originally given life, and with arrangements by the uber-respected Brazilian guitarist-composer Sérgio Assad, the sound quality and performances are so good that Blackbird all but supercedes all instrumental recitations of these songs which have come before it.

It’s not all Karadaglic solo and instrumental though. Jazz superstar Greg Porter sings from the heart on Let It Be; Tori Amos shines with an astonishing vocal on She’s Leaving Home; Steven Isserlis’s opens a world of sound with his cello on Michelle; Ravi Shankar’s daughter Anoushka transforms Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds with her own sitar playing; and Chris Hill (double bass) and Christopher Austin’s string ensemble add gravitas and depth to a handful of tracks each.

Blackbird is a ravishing celebration of some of the most important pop songs ever written, a wonderful display of consummate musicianship, and an excellent Sunday Morning coming down album to smooth out the fuzzy edges of the gentlest suburban superstar or the hardest rock n’ roll hero.

Category: CD Reviews

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