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.
I was lucky enough to see the first time Cline and Lage performed together. It was in NYC at Le Poisson Rouge for a celebration of Downtown Music Gallery’s 21rst Anniversary
Since then they have toured and recorded together as a duo. Now, for his second record on Blue Note, Cline is featuring a quartet with Lage as the other guitarist. It will be released April 13th. Here is a teaser:
It’s that time of year again: Trees being decorated, candles being lit, balls being dropped, and, of course, year-end top ten lists. You love ’em, you hate ’em but no publication worthy of the name is without them. So here is mine. There were many great records of modern guitar released this year (read about them in the various Record picks posts) but these are the ones that found their way most often to my virtual turntable.
This will be a periodic offering from Guitar Moderne: a listing of recordings that come to my attention that are momentous enough to make sure they come to yours. These are not reviews. Feel free to submit recordings, but they must be purchasable worldwide, reflective of modern guitar (subjective, but no blues, classic rock, country, etc.) and on a par with the ones below to rate a mention. Many of these are available from DMG in NYC.
I seem to have started this back in November and neglected to post it. I have added some more recent releases as well.
Sidsel Endresen & Stian Westerhus – Bonita [Rune Grammofon] The greatest guitar vocal duo since Joe Pass and Ella Fitzgerald. Modern guitar at its best and most modern.
Their duo outing, Room, was one of Guitar Moderne’s records of the year. I was lucky enough to see one of their first shows together at Downtown Music Gallery’s 21rst Anniversary concert and can attest that seeing these two masters improvise together is an opportunity not to be missed. They will be touring together from January through March, and if you are in or near any of these cities, make it a point to go. Here is a taste in a beautifully shot and recorded video.