Tim Bedner – Of Light And Shadow (2012)

Some guys play the guitar extremely well and some guys who play the guitar just have great feel. Ottawa, Ontario-based plectrist Tim Bedner is in a special class of guitarists who excel at both. A summa cum laude Berklee grad and instructor at Carleton University, Bedner’s educational pursuits (he also leads music mentoring programs at the high school, university and community levels) may keep him from being more of a household name than he should be, but at long last there’s now a Tim Bedner album coming out that really showcases his immense abilities.

His debut Of Light And Shadow was done with the help of Normand Glaude (contra bass, chromatic harmonica, production, engineering) and Jeff Asselin (drums, percussion), but all nine songs on this collection are Bedner’s, mostly presented in a light Brazilian jazz style and a few of those I swore were some well-chosen covers.

One of those classic-sounding original melodies is “Chiaroscuro” (Youtube above), a gorgeous chord progression with thematic lines from Bedner’s electric guitar amplified by Glaude’s harmonica, as Bedner’s acoustic establishes the harmony. Bedner’s pillowy notes are spot on with every little bend and pluck, and Glaude follows with a yearning Toots Thielemans style harmonica. Bedner hints at the Brazilian and ballad side of Pat Metheny on that song, but is more explicit in making that connection with “Sometimes Sadness” and “A.M. for P.M.” (any guesses as to what “P.M.” stands for?).

Bedner is no straight Metheny clone, though; he occasionally uncorks some edgy licks on cuts like “Umbra” or “Bluenote” that call to mind John Scofield or Steve Khan. And speaking of “Bluenote,” he does a fine B-3 imitation on his guitar during the blues shuffle segments of a song that’s complemented by breezy Brazilian interludes. Elsewhere, we hear much evidence of an advanced fingerpicking technique that Bedner chooses to use chiefly for accompaniment, but it’s adapted quite satisfyingly on the gentler numbers such as “Aurora” and “Waltz for Elise.”

Tim Bedner is the complete package as a guitarist, and is a skilled composer as well. Of Light And Shadow sheds some much needed light on this hidden talent. I hope we hear more from him.

Of Light And Shadow will go on sale October 23. Visit Tim Bedner’s website for more info.

Of Light and Shadow

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron