Jef Lee Johnson was one of those unrecognized genius guitarists who haunt the history of the instrument. His is not exactly a local hero story: where a brilliant guitarist labors in the neighborhood clubs, unknown to anyone outside his town. Johnson was respected widely enough to have worked with: George Duke, Al Jarreau, Patti Labelle, James Carter, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, Mariah Carey, Stanley Clarke, Aretha Franklin, Ronald Shannon Jackson, McCoy Tyner, Esperanza Spalding, Chaka Khan, David Sanborn, and a host of others. It is more a tale of a talent who never broke out as a solo artist, failing to find the wider recognition brought about by your name on the marquee.
Earthquaker Devices is introducing the Levitation reverb ($185.00), designed in conjunction with the Levitation music festival. Founded as Austin Psych Fest in 2008, Levitation honors and preserves Austin’s psychedelic rock heritage, carrying it into the future. Earthquaker has designed a variation on their Ghost Echo pedal to recall the reverb-drenched tones of classic psych rock. The Levitation Reverb builds on the sound of their Ghost Echo, while replacing the attack and dwell knobs with knobs for tone, decay, and atmosphere, as well as a toggle switch for long or short length. This vintage voiced reverb sits somewhere between the a dirty Sixties chamber, classic spring, and ringing plate reverb.
It will be officially released at the Levitation festival on May 8th, 2015 and will be available at the merchandise booth all weekend. It will begin shipping to dealers on May 26th, 2015. If you want to win a trip to the festival visit the festival Facebook page and share the post. For more about the pedal click here.
You could say Eivind Aarset started this whole Guitar Moderne thing. It was discovering his work with trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær that started me searching YouTube for video of him playing live, long before I got to see him play in Montreal, New York, and London. Through that search, I discovered other players and the rest is history. It has been a while since his 2012 release Dream Logic, a solo project for ECM, and another YouTube discovery: a workshop he did in Istanbul revealed some new gear. I reached out and Eivind was kind enough to respond with some help in identifying the gear and some info as to what he has coming out.
The ability to create polyphonic synthesizer sounds with a guitar, without the need for a special pickup, has been on the table since the advent of Jam Origin’s MIDI Guitar software http://www.guitarmoderne.com/gear-2/jam-origin-midi-guitar-the-full-review. Still, there are many guitarists who would prefer not to use a computer in their setup. For them, the Boss SY-300 Guitar Synthesizer sounds promising. I only wish the video spent more time showing the synth sounds and functions, and less time on guitar shredding.
I just found this incredible Terje Rypdal concert in Garana, Romania with Miroslav Vitous and Gerald Cleaver. There is also either a hidden orchestra or tracks going on (the laptop near Vitous leads me to believe the latter). Whatever the case, any Rypdal video is worth checking out, but this is exceptional. Thanks alexsh.