I am heartened by how it gets harder and harder to pick the best of the year. It means that there are more and more great records of modern guitar being issued all the time. This year was made a little easier by the fact that veteran masters like David Torn, Henry Kaiser, Bill Frisell, Nels Cline, and Eivind Aarset all appeared on one or more records. The list is rounded out by younger players like Julian Lage, Max Kutner, and Anthony Pirog, as well as the introduction of new faces: Justus West, Rafiq Bhatia, and Igor Osypov.
Eivind Aarset tears it up with a trio in Prague. A little amuse bouche for Thanksgiving celebrators.
The band Cairo Knife Fight is Nick Gaffaney, a drummer from New Zealand, and George Pajon Jr, a Grammy award winning songwriter and guitarist who has worked with The Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, Carlos Santana, Macy Gray, John Legend, and Sting. The duo redefines what two musicians can create live with Gaffaney drumming, playing keyboard bass, live looping, and singing, while Pajon generates live looped soundscapes and riffs. Thanks to Pete Thorn, we get a glimpse of how they do it. Are bands like this and Josh Dion’s Paris Monster the future?
Vessel is the latest recording by über-modern guitarist Dan Phelps. GM has spoken to Phelps in the past about his more group-oriented projects like Modular, Arc, and Spirits Drifted, but Vessel is representative of the guitarist as he more often appears live: alone on stage with guitar, effects, laptop, guitar amp, and full range speaker system. Recorded as one 45 minute take, it incorporates techniques Phelps has described in earlier interviews and in some newer videos included here.