Guitarist Erik Lamberth stated he wanted to make a very traditional jazz album. The result is Opportunity, recorded live with most of the tracks were done in 1-2 takes, all in a single day using tube pre- amps. This is close to the thinking of period instrument, historically informed classical performance. Lamberth roundly approximates a '50s jazz sound not unlike that ofGrant Green. He also achieves this sound in a way that is beyond sonic. His performance style is very "American Primitive." Lambreth has the chops, to be sure, but he shows a certain precise restraint in his playing that exposes the songs the interior of the compositions he is focusing on.Glenn Miller's swing-era hit, "In The Mood" would be the last song one would expect to hear on this recording. Yet here it is; played in a most attractively reharmonized and low-fi way. think of this tune as a blues performed by Wes Montgomery, whose "West Coast Blues" closes the disc. Lamberth admits to being under the Montgomery spell. Lamberth's quartet members are equal to the task. Pianist Vince Ryan blows through every jazz piano style on the same tune. Then there is the original "SRV Blues" paying tacit tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan. Lamberth avoids the inevitable imitation of Vaughan by keeping things simple within the chosen twelve- bar format. There is much to like about Opportunity, very much indeed.
Erik Lamberth Jazz Quartet
Lamberth is a multi-talented artist, playing guitar, sax and bass on this disc alone. Rounding out the quartet we have Vince Ryan on piano & keyboards, Tom Wyatt on drums and Leif Dunn on bass. This recording, while not done in a single take, is absolutely live. In keeping with the tradition of the Jazz masters, Opportunity is 100% the Erik Lamberth Jazz Quartet, complete with all the minor little things that happen in the course of live performance. In essence, what you hear is what you get and I, for one, am thrilled with the honesty. This album is easy on the ears, impeccable from a musical standpoint and powerful, if only by virtue of the fact that this is what the band sounds like…no pulling of single notes to tweak the recording just a bit to get the exact sound that the band was going for. I have been angry for quite some time with bands manipulating sounds in the studio in an effort to hit perfection. What we hear here is the interaction of four performers performing together as a single unit and allowing the listener to hear the unadulterated results. Lamberth and the crew cover a wide range of styles, not only showcasing their own incredible talents but giving their listing audience a little broader view of the genre. Opportunity is an acoustic album, which paints tapestries in sound, allowing the listener to be swept away in the music with only the depths of their imaginations to guide them. Fairly traditional lounge style jazz for the most part, the quartet does venture into a jazz/blues fusion on a couple of cuts. My advice is to pour a glass of wine, kick back, relax and let the music take you where it will. All of the musicians here are well versed in the many styles of jazz, blues, rock, pop and so much more. While the album is jazz through and through, a close listen may find you visiting places in your imagination that you would not expect. Having heard Erik’s work in the past, I knew that the one thing I could expect was the unexpected (if that makes any sense at all), and I was not disappointed. Every time I listen to this disc I hear something new and different…a fascinating quality on any album. While my preference is traditional blues, I find myself listening to nearly anything. A dear friend once told me that he takes good songs from wherever he finds them. I seem to have found a goldmine in Erik Lamberth Jazz Quartet’s Opportunity. Give it a listen, you will not be disappointed. – Bill Wilson
New Album from Erik Lamberth '88
Published on: 12/07/12
Lots of musicians wear other hats, but few wear quite so many as Erik Lamberth ’88. The father of five is a pediatrician in private practice in Bucks County, Pa., and an active medical researcher who chairs the Institutional Review Board at Grand View Hospital, and yet he still somehow found the time to release his second album, Three Guitars, which he wrote and recorded entirely on his own. (Additionally, some younger alums may recognize Lamberth from their classroom; he was a visiting assistant professor in the biology department in the early aughts.)
“Balance is always tricky, especially with work, family and music,” says the former biology major, whose college band, Roadrunner, opened for Living Colour when they played on campus. “I guess not watching TV frees up a lot of time!”
Lamberth’s latest CD is evenly split between jazz and blues compositions, and though the titular instrument is the album’s star, he also plays bass, keyboard and tenor saxophone on its songs. In fact, that last instrument was actually Lamberth’s first. Though he took up guitar at 15 and later studied it at the Berklee College of Music, he first played sax in his elementary school band, and later brought his instrument with him to Haverford, where played it in the Jazz Ensemble before insinuating his guitar into the group.
“One day, I showed up to rehearsal with my guitar, not my sax,” remembers Lamberth. “I got a lot of strange looks. I mean, I didn’t even have music for the guitar! So I looked over the piano player’s shoulder the whole rehearsal, and afterwards they said, ‘Yeah, you can be the guitarist.’”
Though Three Guitars was only released in May, Lamberth is already hard at work on his next album. Recording is under way on an emotive, jazz-focused collection with a full band—the Erik Lamberth Quartet—and Seattle producer Cyrus Rhodes. A spring 2013 release is planned.
For more information on his music and a calendar of shows: eriklamberth.com.
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2012 issue of Haverford magazine.
From start to finish "Three Guitars" from Erik Lamberth is a barnburner of a release It has everything you would expect from a classic R&B, Jazz, Americana release. The music is consistent, uplifting, and extremely fun to listen to. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really a weak piece of music on this entire CD. The writing and playing abilities of Lamberth and his band are rock solid. Last but not least Eric Lamberth is a masterful guitarist. He’s one artist that’s not afraid to just let it all hang out musically and show is his musical diversity and depth via 2 amazing generas.
[Note: for the full review, click the Muse's Muse link above]
Review: The CD is split up into 2 portions: Blues and Jazz. The opening track “Texas Blues” sets the stage perfectly for this side of the CD. It was a great intro piece that stuck in my head and had me eager for what was ahead. All in all the whole CD (presented as 2 musical themes) is brilliantly delivered with warm musical textures and flowing compositions that covers allot of ground. Musical overtones reminded me a bit of the usual suspects: Pat Metheny, Larry Carlton, Ry Cooder, and many more guitar greats out there I need not mention. There are some fantastic pieces on this CD which gives this musical production a very accessible feel emotionally. Lamberth’s guitar playing is brilliant and I would describe his style as musical indulgence with experience. Personally I enjoyed the Jazz songs more than the blues. Favorite piece on the CD is a toss up between “Double Time and ‘Mr. PC Blues”
Weakness: It’s obvious some of the instruments are sonic and artificial – in a nutshell this is not a real band. It sounds as if he is playing to a Drum-Karaoke machine. This genera is all about capturing the essence of a live performance – so the CD doesn’t stack up when compared to other world class guitar-type releases. Lamberth needs to find a few select players out there that are emotionally committed to his cause that can do his music proper justice for both him and his fans.
Song Samples from the CD: All song samples are from Erik Lamberth’s Three Guitars available on CD Baby http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/eriklamberth
Conclusion: If there was one word I would use to describe Erik Lamberth it would be devitrified. This CD will simply make your day more delightful, but beware Erik Lamberth is one artists not so easily pinned down comparable to a musical chameleon. The strong suit of Lamberth is the wide latitude of musical depth he carefully navigates you through. It’s a musical experience you will return to again and again – picking out thing you may have missed the first time. At the end you will find yourself inspired, invigorated & in a more passionate mood than you were 45 minutes ago.
By: Rory Richardson
Three Guitars is pretty evenly split between Blues and Jazz instrumentals which showcase Lamberth’s talents beautifully. A good instrumental album is relaxing, can take the listener on a voyage of the imagination, is conducive to creative thinking and even aids in the digestive process. The pieces on Three Guitars are well written, beautifully arranged, extremely well played and a delight to the ears. Erik Lamberth has the potential to pursue his dreams in any number of directions. A multi-talented musician, his work is both passionate and technically right on the money. He is a talented musician on so many different fronts. I would be interested in hearing his work with the backing of a full band. Acoustic works can be difficult if one is going to perform all the parts. Nonetheless, this is a job well done. Chalk one up for another PA musician. – Bill Wilson
"One hell of a guitar player..."
The Artist I recently checked out the latest release from the Philadelphia guitarist Erik Lamberth entitled Three Guitars released in 2012.
The band Line up includes just Erik Lamberth alone. Based on the jazz standard I would say Lamberth clearly possesses above average playing and above average writing abilities. You will find many impressive chops and eloquent playing styles presented along the way. The CD is divided up into 2 sections. 6 Tracks dedicated to Blues and 5 Tracks dedicated to Jazz. Timing is spot on within the modern-day guitar driven pieces. Lamberth holds his own remarkably well given his impressive background. He is not to be underestimated in any way, shape of form. He deserves allot of credit for delivering a musical personality with a unique signature that reflects his origins. He is a gifted player, composer and musical storyteller. The music Some pieces even cross the line into Rock and Classical. All in all great music to eat a Sunday morning brunch to. Definitely classic jazz and slamming blues yet amazingly conservative. Music is timeless, very passionate and emotional. Will remind you of classic Joe Pass, Larry Carlton and John McLaughlin. The songs Simply put - all songs are well rounded with amazing highs and powerful lows. There’s nothing like a fully loaded musical production to fill your sonic space, this is definitely one of them. Simply put, very much like life itself this CD personifies life experience, with music that are 100% honest, pure and genuine. The production CD was engineered properly The good Remarkably consistent, well rounded musical production.Honorable mentions go out to the gifted playing styles showcased by Lamberth. The bad Due to Lamberth being the only real musician here, it has much to be desired. The ugly It's a stretch to expect a guy like Lamberth to do everything by himself. He clearly needs support not just from other musicians, but from a bona fide Musical Producer that can push his talents in the right direction.
The verdict Three Guitars by the Erik Lamberth is an impressive collection of music. It is entertaining and showcases some amazing playing styles. For the guitar it clearly sets a standard within this truly amazing genre and the more you listen to it, the more the instrument will reveal itself to you.
Indieshark Music Critic
Most would agree most popular artists out there have something truly special to give to their fans. This goes above the typical attributes like raw talent, amazing songs, nice voice, or even a very marketable look, sound and image. There's something truly infectious at the core of these artists that simply makes us feel good when we listen to them. Whatever "it" is - they all seem to have "it".
Today I listened to the latest CD from Erik Lamberth (Three Guitars) released in 2012. Venturing to his website it is a very professional presentation showing this is one artist in the purest sense of the word. I get the impression Lamberth has been bitten by the guitar bug some 30 years ago and hasn't looked back since. Being a guitarist myself I can relate to this having been playing now for nearly 20 years. This incredible instrument has an amazing history no one can deny, with multiple plying styles to explore and a powerful following word wide. Since were on the subject Lamberth delivers Jazz and Blues. I get the impression Lamberth is just going with what he knows as a performer. Favorite tracks include Texas Blues, The Walk and Ocean's One. Within each one of these compositions Lamberth bares his soul and delivers pure musical mojo and plays the instrument the way it was designed. There is no showboating going on, just fluid playing that fits the style of each piece perfectly. In this respect Lamberth is a true master. It's also amazing how well Lamberth pulls all this off which out the compliment of a full band. You had better be a consummate professional to be effective in this environment and yes Lamberth delivers. The overall vibe is very uplifting and invigorating.
I see Lamberth as a polished musician. I get the impression he just wanted to have some fun and release this latest string of songs without getting locked into a grand production commitment. Three Guitars is a must if you play guitar, but fans of Blues and Jazz will relish it as well. I am eager to hear what his next release will sound like. If he manages to bring a full band with him next time it would be a CD for the ages. In close most famous artists out there have "it" Im not so sure what it but Erik Lamberth has whatever "it" may be.
“Three Guitars” is Lamberth’s latest release and it is impressive nonetheless with a whole lot of variety to it’s 11 song line-up. In fact Lamberth could be classified as a 4 genera artist: Jazz, Blues, Rock, and even Fusion. It’s rare to hear an artist walk a fine line between all the above. Even more impressive – Lamberts eloquent playing style is displayed with such finesse and experience – it’s safe to say all his years of playing has paid off handsomely. Another aspect to Lamberth I find impressive is rather than go out of his way and hot dog around the freeboard Lamberth takes the high road and plays whatever style the song calls for. This clearly shows the kind of music professional and pedigree Lambert comes from. Above all it’s conservative, professional and modest is its stance. This is one guitarist that has way too much precision and clarity to showcase a over-the-top, flashy playing mantra. Indeed this is clearly evident in songs like “Texas Blues”, “Surf’s Up” “Sarah’s Song” and “Double Time” which methodically ups the ante to a very respectable level of catchy-blues-jazz craftsmanship. In a nutshell this is Buddy Guy meets Pat Metheny.
After reading a few other reviews for “Three Guitars” I guess I could slam Lamberth for failing to bring a full band to the equation. To my other colleagues I will agree that many pieces have a drum machine and overly-synthetic bass line – but Lamberth clearly compensates in other areas to make up for that. So in the end I feel these 2 cancel each other out with one over-strength for one weaknesses.
When all is said and done “Three Guitars” is allot fun to listen to. It covers all the bases and I would imagine in time we will hear more from Erik Lamberth. There have been several amazing Jazz musicians from Philadelphia. Perhaps there’s’ something in the water down there. Any event be sure to get your hands on “Three Guitars” via CD UNIVERSE.
What I like most about the CD is wire range of musical styles and emotions Lamberth pours into each piece. He may not have a full blown band backing him up – but he clearly makes each one his own with his breathtaking fretwork. This CD captures an amazing spirit of the guitar and will inspire many to either go play their guitars or go learn how to play one. In this respect Lamberth has managed to capture some lightning in a bottle via this compelling 11 track set on “Three Guitars.”
Review: “Three Guitars” is one release that certainly doesn’t disappoint. This is one artist that brings to the table effective songwriting with an amazing musicianship and a wide depth of playing expertise. Meshed with a superlative Americana Blues and Modern Guitar Jazz I give Lamberth high marks for pick to of the best genera’s for this instrument. This CD is quite exhilarating and entertaining overall with amazing playing and writing abilities coupled with impressive musicianship. Overall it was one heck of a ride which personifies the experience of the guitar itself. It even touches a wide range of emotions. All in all – all songs are wonderfully simple but masterful in their overall arrangements. Music reminded me of a cross between Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burell, Pat Martino, Les Paul and even Jim Hall. There are some fantastic moments on this CD which gives each song grouping an amazing feel emotionally when connecting with the listener.
Click the above link for the review.
"Erik Lamberth's CD "Candlewood Blues" is filled with amazing guitar-playing and incredible songs. Thanks for adding so much great music to our radio shows. "
Lively...On the right track.