After 25 years as a session guitarist and record producer, Alberto Lombardi fell in love with fingerstyle acoustic guitar. He has performed his arrangements both in Italy and abroad, from small clubs in New York City and London, to renowned guitar festivals held in Sarzana and Ferentino, Italy.
Alberto's arrangements are rooted in the style of the great Chet Atkins and Tommy Emmanuel but also influenced by the 1950's big band sound. His arrangements of American and Italian classics, (Georgia On My Mind, Volare) show the inventive harmonic movements from those great arrangers and composers of the times. Alberto also writes his own material, both fingerstyle instrumentals and as a singer/songwriter.
Here's what Alberto says about each arrangement:
Georgia On My Mind is an amazing song. There are many fingerstyle arrangements. My version is strongly based on Ray Charles's recording. I have adapted his string intro as well as playing this at the end using natural harmonics. Georgia was originally released in 1930. It was a dance tune with lots of 'swing.' So I added rhythm to the verse and chorus using an alternating bass. I combine this technique with some blues/soul licks here and there. I play it in the key of G and modulate to Bm for the chorus.
Volare is one of the most evocative songs ever. The original Italian song talks about a dream, where the singer paints himself blue and flies away. My arrangement echoes the era when Volare was first introduced. There are lots of harmonic movements that embellish the melody chord structure. I think the real goal of arranging this song was to keep it simple, yet interesting. This is a common but difficult task.
Blue Moon is a combination of Tommy Emmanuel's and my own arrangement. I learned Tommy's version while I was already working on mine. So I made a blend. My intro uses the chord structure from the Ella Fitzgeralds recording and the Frank Sinatra Brass stabs. Plus for the verse I have my own chord movements. I borrowed Tommy's rhythmic ideas as these truly swing. The strength of this tune is the rhythm.
2 hours 50 minutes - Level 3/4 - Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: Spider-walked artificial harmonics, Merle Travis picking, string-tickled birdcalls, string bends, ‘snare drum’ notes, double stops, “Stairway to Heaven,” Hammond B3-ish natural harmonics, finger skids, James Bond and blues licks. Phew! And all that only builds one of Alberto Lombardi’s "Fingerpicking Adventures": “Volare,” the standard on which Domenico Modugno, Dean Martin, David Bowie, and Barry White also consecutively swung. Nearly three hours of Lombardi’s personal instruction are devoted to just this classic plus three more classics. But each is a mini symphony richly arranged for solo guitar. Each is anything but static, constantly evolving over its course with lots and lots of gorgeously moving parts. Augmented chords, diminished chords, suspended chords, triads, morphing bass, Chet Atkins licks, legato licks and blues licks figure into “Georgia on My Mind.” “Blue Moon” follows exceptionally creative suit by rolling in Ella Fitzgerald’s chord structures, Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel’s rhythm, Frank Sinatra’s horn stabs, piano licks, a marching band. That and blues licks, too. And, yes, blues licks are also a part of the carousel whirl to “Tu Vuò Fa' L'Americano,” most recently heard in "The Talented Mr. Ripley" soundtrack. Not only does Lombardi provide the step-by-step "how"to all of this, but also the concept-by-concept "why". That way the very thought process behind his fingerstyle designs helps these deceptively challenging workouts get delivered with the greatest of ease. – Dennis Rozanski/Blues Rag
Review: This repertoire-building lesson offers much for intermediate and advanced fingerstyle guitarists. Lombardi demonstrates four of his solo arrangements in detail, spending about 45 minutes on each, covering intros and variations, instead of providing only a structural overview. He also discusses sources of inspiration - in the case of "Blue Moon," he marries Tommy Emmanuel's boom-chuck approach to elements of arrangements recorded by Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. After seeing him perform "Georgia on My Mind," I grabbed my guitar and worked out his intro - he's that inspiring. Ditto for "Blue Moon," although that arrangement is a bit more challenging.
Lombardi also teaches two great Italian pop tunes, "Volare" and "Tu Vu Fa l'Americano" (You'd Like to be an American). Techniques covered in the lesson include playing voices in multiple registers, polyrhythms, artificial harmonics and, above all, a rich musicality that's true to the aesthetic of these tunes. Fingerpicking Adventures is one of the best multimedia lessons I've seen for guitarists who want to arrange popular songs for solo guitar. Each piece is transcribed in a book included on the DVD and download package. - Patrick Ragains/Minor 7th