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Reviews
   With the release of WaterColours, San Antonio-based guitarist Charlie Wood documents his current direction in shaping the repertoire of jazz guitar. A truly gifted composer/musician, Wood's music employs a wide range of guitaristic colors, textures and effects that are refreshingly orchestral, with a momentum and sweep that incorporates a variety of influences, both obvious and nuanced. As with his previous release, Rhythms of the Eclipse  (2003, Third Stream Productions), Kim Stone, bassist with SpyroGyra and The Rippingtons, and multi-instrumentalist Oscar Cruz play key roles in realizing Charlie Wood's singular musical vision. Anthony Brown, Ph.D. Director Asian American Orchestra I first heard Charlie Wood at the Taste of New Orleans in San Antonio back in 1998 where the Rippingtons were also playing. I was so taken by Charlie and his music that I had to introduce myself to him after his set. We hit it off right away and to my pleasure, Charlie asked if I would play on his next CD (Rhythms of the Eclipse). I told him I would love to and from that moment we've been recording and performing together ever since. This is our 3rd CD together, called WaterColours and our best to date in my opinion. So give it a listen, I think you'll love it as I do. Kim Stone Spyro Gyra/Rippingtons We're always glad to discover exciting new talent and then share the find with you. One of our latest discoveries is from deep in the heart of Texas. The San Antonio-born, Bulverde-raised, Charlie Wood has actually been around the music biz for quite some time, playing professionally since he was 14.  Charlie’s done it all in his musical career, from Rock & Roll to R&B to country.  He was in the famous Gilley’s house band for 3 1/2 years.  His first love, however, is Jazz and his heart keeps pulling him back.  He released his first Smooth Jazz album in 1996, and has since shared the stage with the likes of Chuck Loeb, Fattburger, Gerald Albright, Walter Beasley, and Brian Culbertson.  RHYTHMS OF THE ECLIPSE, his latest project, beautifully showcases Charlie Wood’s lyrical style and high caliber versatility.  He uses three different guitars… Electric, flamenco, and classical, which provide an exceptionally diverse and engaging set of performances.  They all have very important elements in common, though…Charlie Wood’s jazz heart, and his passion for performing.  We especially like the solid “Better Days,” the intriguing title track, his unique latinesque version of the Classics IV hit “Stormy,” and the beautiful acoustic ballad, “Give Me All You Got.”    Rippington's bassist, Kim Stone makes a splash as special guest on RHYTHMS OF THE ECLIPSE. We are certain that you will enjoy this rich tapestry of guitar textures. It's certain to satisfy you musically and emotionally.   ~Scott O’Brien REVIEWED + RECOMMENDED ON SMOOTHJAZZ.COM Originally hailing from San Antonio Texas, it was Wood's father who first got him started in music by teaching him how to play banjo. However, it wasn't too long before guitar became the focus of Charlie's interests and by the age of eleven he was taking lessons on that instrument. Although he enjoyed playing various genres, Wood found that his true love gravitated to contemporary Jazz and this became very evident when his debut release in 1996 was considered for a Grammy nomination. Just out is Rhythms of the Eclipse, Wood's fine follow up effort and a project which is certain to take Charlie's career to the next level. In particular, one of the tracks on the new cd is outstanding. It's dedicated to caregivers all over the world, to survivors of 9/11 and to survivors of domestic violence. It's titled Better Days and we have it for you today. CD: Rhythms of the Eclipse Label: Third Stream Productions Site: www.charliewoodjazz.net   While on the subject of electric guitar and jazz, guitar ace Charlie Wood will be in concert Saturday at the Cameo Theater, 1123 E. Commerce St. He'll be joined by Juan Cabrera & Déjà Vu and Beverly Houston & Breezin'. Wood, well traveled and versatile, has played a bit of everything from real-deal country to rock; however, when he set off on his own music-making path, Wood opted for smooth jazz, contemporary instrumental music. With albums such as "In the Thick of the Woods" and his latest, "Rhythms of the Eclipse," Wood and his collaborators draw from an array of influences to present instrumental music that can calm and music that can jump.  Jim Beal’s Jr.’s Night Lights It's now possible to hear the holidays roaring down upon us. But scattered in among the company parties and the shopping frenzy is lots of live music, including a couple of CD release parties featuring artists with plenty of experience. Charlie Wood's rhythms Most jazz musicians like to bristle if someone describes their music as smooth jazz. Guitarist Charlie Wood is not one of them. "I like it because it's the integration of lots of different kinds of music," Wood said. "Latin, funk, ballads, everything mixed together. It's about the groove and I like to groove. You can go any direction you want. To me it's more than elevator music. If you listen to it, you know that not everybody can do it." But Wood and an all-star band can, and will, do it Saturday at the Cameo Theater, in St. Paul Square at 1123 E. Commerce St. The occasion is a release party for Wood's new CD, "Rhythms of the Eclipse." Show time is 6: 30-9 p.m. and it's free. Wood will be accompanied by Oscar Cruz (keyboards, CD co-producer), Kim Stone of Rippingtons fame (bass), Robert Ybarra (guitar, vocals, "Rhythms" engineer), Gabe Pintor (saxophone), Arsenio Lopez (drums) and Jorge (percussion).   Wood, 52, first made his guitar-slinging mark as a country musician. He was in the Gilley's club house band and worked with the Gold Rush Mountain Band and Geronimo Trevino.   "When I was in a little lull, I started writing and all the songs I wrote were in that jazz style," Wood said. "But I learned from a jazz guy, Dow Daggett. I started playing country music when I was in college to bring in some money." Wood released his debut CD, "In the Thick of the Woods," in 1996. It earned positive notices from many in the contemporary instrumental jazz field. "To me, the guitar is a gift," Wood said. "I love the sound. I love the portability. And lucky for me, the popularity of the guitar has served me well. It fits in any genre. I still do some country, R&B and rock gigs." Wood also teaches. His Third Stream Music in Bulverde is a second home for aspiring guitarists ages 4 to 65. "And they're interested in all types of music," Wood said with a laugh. "I teach them to read music and also teach them to play off of CDs. A lot of guitar players can't read. A plus to reading and writing music, though it takes a while to learn, is versatility. If you can play and read music you'll never be out of work." The majority of the songs on "Rhythms of the Eclipse" were written or co-written by Wood. The songs run the gamut from atmospheric to Latin-themed. "I don't have a real approach to writing," Wood added. "I draw from feelings I have at the time and the songs come to me."