CD Review: Leonard Grigoryan’s ‘Solo’


Guitarist Leonard Grigoryan has made an emphatic statement with the release of his first solo CD, not surprisingly called Solo.

Part of a brilliant music family, Leonard has appeared with his brother Slava as an extremely successful and highly regarded duo, The Grigoryan Brothers. With this CD, he demonstrates that he is as accomplished a solo artist and composer as he is an ensemble player. Whatever the reason he waited so long before striking out by himself, Leonard Grigoryan is ready to be a performer in his own right.

Released by Which Way Music (WWM 017) Solo is a collection of works by old and contemporary guitar masters. Leonard Grigoryan’s flawless technique opens the way for perfect timing and expression. He is able to make the music his own.

The CD opens with the flamboyant Dansa Brasiliera by the Brazilian composer Radames Gnattali (1906 – 1988). Leonard Grigoryan’s affinity with the style and his sure craftmanship are perhaps most obvious in the two works by the Paraguyan composer Augustin Barrios (1885 – 1944), the lyrical Choro da Saudade and Julia Florida where he moulds the rhythms to give and to take, from fiery to languid in true Hispanic style.

For moments of slow elegance there is the poignant Possibly Maybe, “inspired by the anticipation and excitement of going to Norway to record this album, juxtaposed with the uncertainty of what was to come”; and Sarabande and composed by Grigoryan himself, followed by the kittenish Gigue, also composed by him. Modern master Ralph Towner is acknowledged with the improvisatory The Reluctant Bride, and a dedication by Leonard Grigoryan Blues for Ralph, rich with iridescent harmony.

Leonard Grigoryan
Leonard Grigoryan

Heitor-Villa Lobos’ amaranthine collection of Five Preludes, is played with passion and  completes this eminently listenable and brilliantly performed premiere solo venture by Leonard Grigoryan.

The CD was recorded in May 2012 at Rainbow Studios in Oslo. Leonard Grigoryan played a guitar made by Australian luthier Jim Redgate.

Solo is available at music stores and on line at

Shamistha de Soysa for SoundsLikeSydney©




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