There were many terrific records in 2017. In another year, Charlie Rauh’s Viriditas, Dan Phelps’ Arc, and Rights by Manuel Troller’s band Schnellertollermeier might have fit on my “Best of…” list. But this year saw so many releases by modern guitar superstars that I just have to recommend reserving some money to also pick up their worthy efforts.
This list is mine; feel free to list yours in the comment section.
When I interviewed Nick Reinhart in 2015, he was thinking that his collaboration with Nels Cline, Mike Watt, and Greg Saunier would be out shortly. Over two and a half years later we are finally able to buy the modern guitar superstar extravaganza that is Big Walnuts Yonder. Nick and Mike Watt talk about the process and delay here. Nick has been called “Nels Cline’s younger punk rock brother,” and they work together here like musical brothers of different mothers. A must have for their interaction on Cline’s “Flare Star Phantom” alone.
Wednesday was modern guitar pioneer Terje Rypdal’s 70th birthday. To celebrate, Henry Kaiser assembled a who’s who of modern guitarists: David Torn, Bill Frisell, Nels Cline, Hedvig Mollestad, Jim O’Rourke, Hans Magnus Ryan, Raoul Björkenheim, Even H. Hermansen, Reine Fiske, along with long time Rypdal keyboardist Ståle Storløkken, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, and drummer Gard Nilssen (Dungen). There is a Volume 2 that is a vinyl only release of side-long outtakes that were too good to leave on the shelf.
Kaiser also played and his production is more than up to the task of presenting multiple distorted guitars with clarity and cohesion. This tribute is a must-own for anyone interested in modern guitar playing at its best.
Summer is shaping up to be a bonanza time of year for new records featuring modern guitarists.
First we have a teaser for a record being released in August. For Terje Rypdal’s birthday, August 23rd, Rune Grammofon is releasing Sky Music: A Tribute to Terje Rypdal featuring – Nels Cline, Hedvig Mollestad, Bill Frisell, Jim O’Rourke, David Torn, Raoul Bjørkenheim, Henry Kaiser, and more. Produced by Henry Kaiser, who does an amazing job on the producing and playing front, this is shaping up to be THE modern guitar record of the year.
Elliott Sharp/Matteo Liberatore, Nels Cline/Susan Alcorn, Raoul Bjorkenheim /Anders Nilsson are among the guitarists featured in Guitar Moderne who have teamed up for a bunch of concerts to start of the summer festival year. And as a bonus a new duet concert with Stian and Sidsel, with Stian on a new guitar! Thanks to Don Mount for documenting the NYC avant scene.