Born: November 16, 1974 Primary Instrument: Guitar
Paper Moon is a San Diego based guitar duo featuring a blend of infectious instrumental guitar styles, ranging from original Latin Jazz, Flamenco, Gypsy Swing, New Age and Ambient compositions to jazz standards and classical works with a modern, quirky flair.
In 1977, jazz guitarist Al DiMeola invited flamenco player Paco de Lucia to sit in on an acoustic number on his Elegant Gypsy album, and the resulting flashy hybrid of gypsy jazz successfully combined the souls of both Django Reinhardt and Sabicas. Since then, guitar enthusiasts have never had a shortage of acoustic artists who could keep the flame burning. Many of these sound like clones of the original nylon/steel templates of Acoustic Alchemy's tame precision on the one hand and Strunz and Farah's riff-riddled jams on the other. Little Venices, a new disc by San Diego's Paper Moon, uses the same instrumentation but with a different approach, to good effect.
Recorded with Scott Taber on nylon string acoustic and Daniel Dever on steel string and electric guitar (Joe Amato recently filled the second spot), Little Venices follows up the duo's 2006 offering, Miniatures. All but one of the 12 songs are originals and draw from Latin, swing jazz, even a bit of blues-rock, and plenty of flamenco. The compositions score points for variation of approach, showcasing the guitarists in each song flashing a different side of their musical personality.
After sharp unison playing on Anthem, the title tune has Taber laying down some Spanish-themed framework, onto which he and Dever add tasteful touches. The uptempo Cirque de la Song has a swing feel, Django licks, and even speeds up at the end. Of Daydreams is more straight-ahead bluesy jazz with Taber evoking Wes Montgomery, his inspired playing giving way to Dever with an electric rig firing off a rock-inspired solo. On Hammerhead a brisk brew of harmonics, intricate finger picking, and fretless bass combine for a disc highlight while Latitudes uses a brisk Brazilian rhythm, the closest the pair comes to Strunz and Farah here.
The disc was recorded at San Diego's Archival Sound, and the board work manages to capture both guitars, giving each space and enough volume, without some of the echo or excessive fret and finger noise sometimes heard in other acoustic guitar recordings.
Taber lets his fingers go on Vignette to create some impressive flamenco filigree. The playing on the disc is generally subdued, but he proves here that he can put together scales like Ottmar Liebert and Jesse Cook when the moment is right. For Needles some fine interplay between Taber's jazz-funk picking and some string accents by Dever lead into the complex unison scales of Another Window, as the two tunes combine for a satisfying musical statement.
Little Venices offers a mixed bag of instrumental guitar music that is very well performed. It changes tempo and styles a great deal, helping to keep it an interesting and enjoyable listening experience.
Miniatures by Craig Yerkes - San Diego Troubadour
Miniatures, the new CD from guitar duo Paper Moon, is a sly and utterly entertaining piece of work. The approach is delightfully eclectic with nods to such diverse influences as Al DiMeola and the Helecasters with some Django, Metheny, Paco DeLucia, and Wes Montgomery thrown in along the way. Paper Moon has managed to merge these different styles into a truly original sound and approach all their own. Track one, 'Rayuela,' (a straight ahead, up-tempo, acoustic/Spanish-style crowd pleaser) is actually the weakest offering on the disc due to how little it does to forecast how fresh the rest of the recording will be. Paper Moon's two players, Scot Taber and Daniel Dever, move seamlessly between acoustic and electric on the following tracks, bringing all kinds of funky surprises along the way. There is an almost giddy approach dripping off this music, as if they just couldn't wait to add that next guitar part to see what it would sound like. Much to duo's credit, though, it never becomes a guitar orgy thanks to an over-riding sense of doing what's right for the song. Track three, the 7/8 offering called 'The Freneticist,' reminded me of DiMeola's early stuff with a great mix of muted electric licks driving the rhythm and Spanish/nylon-string lead lines adding a Latin fire. 'While She Sleeps' features a wonderful waltz melody and should bring a smile to fans of the super-smooth, octave-style/Montgomery-esque electric jazz sound. This disc really launches into the stratosphere starting with track five, 'Swing Sets.' Its intro features an effect that makes it sound like it's being played through some kind of cheap record player in a cafŽ somewhere in Europe. To me, this clever intro signals that the rest of the disc is designed to take the listener on a trip through the limitless musical world of these artists. From the super tasty gypsy solos on 'Swing Set' and the funky backwards guitar intro on 'CafŽ Antiguo' to the delightful handling of the melody on 'Vals Ð Tema De Strauss' and the beautifully breezy leads on 'Emily,' this is music that keeps bringing smiles. My favorite is track ten, 'Epilogue,' which features a stunningly beautiful, almost otherworldly melody and an equally amazing counterpart of fretless bass, strings, and perfectly complementary sound effects. This CD should appeal to a broad spectrum of music lovers, especially those with an ear toward world music. There is musical invention here to be sure, but everything is done within the context of making music that is just plain fun to listen to. If some of this material doesn't make it into some kind of soundtrack, it will only be because the right people didn't hear it. The Paper Moon guys have pulled off quite a trick with Miniatures, creating an artistically uncompromised musical kaleidoscope that is a blast for the rest of us to listen to. Bravo! Click to see the original review
Minor 7th - September & October Short Takes by Patrick Ragains
Scott Taber and Daniel Dever comprise the guitar duo Paper Moon. Taber is an accomplished classical guitarist who is skilled in jazz and pop styles, while Dever concentrates on electric guitar. Both guitarists have chops to spare and the selections on this CD showcase their instrumental prowess. The program opens with Rayuela, with Taber improvising ably over a nice Latin background. Most of the remaining tracks feature electric guitar, played mostly by Dever. Their compositions range from the gypsy-flavored Swing Set and Tarrega's romantically flavored piece, Vals - Tema de Strauss, recalling the whimsy of a merry-go-round, to the '70s-sounding Al Coda. Miniatures shows much promise for Paper Moon, if the guitarists allow a bit more breathing room in their improvisations and work at producing warmer tones on their electric guitars. This duo is bound to offer exciting live performances; if they refine their approach (perhaps by using an outside producer) they will almost certainly produce more satisfying recordings.
JazzReview.com by Ronald Jackson
A lot of presence. That’s how I’d best describe Paper Moon, a two-year-old guitar duo with a unique and diverse background. Scot Taber is trained in flamenco and classical guitar, while his string-mate, German-born Daniel Dever, started out as a country music lead guitarist. I’d say that’s a pretty interesting mix of musical cultures. This album starts off with a hot Latin piece, “Rayuela,” to set one of the many moods present in this collection. That’s followed by a catchy little offering called “Upside.” The album then bounces back to the Latin mode with “The Freneticist,” a very melodious and sunny cut, though not frenetic, as its name might imply. A slower, chord-heavy strumfest follows on “While She Sleeps.” There is plenty of melodic salsa “juice” on this album. Lazy in spots, spicy in others, the arrangements are unique and tasteful. There are moments when you hear a bit of the laudable style that is Acoustic Alchemy (check out tracks “Al Coda” and “White On,” respectively my favorites here). Granted, one would have to be in the mood for Miniatures; however, even if you’re not, you’ll find plenty that could motivate a bit of foot-tapping and air guitar. This is actually good, refreshing material. These two gentlemen are certainly talented composers, and they can play! That alone gets them a second listen from inquiring ears, I would think.
Tracks: Track; Track.
Personnel: Name: instrument.
As A Side Musician
Paper Moon Music
Tracks: Anthem; Little Venices; Cirque de la Song; Of Daydreams; Anchor Blues; Recuerdos de la Alhambra; Hammerhead; Lattitudes; Vignette; Needles; Another Window; Kawasaki Rose.
Personnel: Scot Taber: Guitar; Dan Dever: Guitar.
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San Diego, CA
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Whether you are interested in a specific style or simply want to learn the basics, Paper Moons private guitar lessons in San Diego allow you to learn guitar at your own pace lessons are tailored to your musical interests and needs. Play your favorite songs, learn to improvise on the guitar, or learn to read music and understand music theory. Learn to play popular guitar styles like Classical, Jazz, Flamenco, Rock, Latin Jazz, Folk, Country, and more! For those interested in learning performance skills, Paper Moon's frequent Guitar Gatherings allow you to perform for other guitar students in a fun, low pressure environment.