Last year, I interviewed James Moore from the Dither Guitar Quartet around the time he released his record performing the entirety of John Zorn’s The Book of Heads. This set me on a path examining the place of the electric guitar in contemporary “classical” music. I recently posted a two-part interview with Tim Brady, where we discussed this fascinating (at least to me) subject. With this month’s release of Dither’s fantastic record, Potential Differences [New Focus Recordings], I deemed it time to talk to one of the Quartet’s founders, Taylor Levine, about how they manage to make the electric guitar sound like a natural vehicle for modern composed music. Again, the conversation ranged wide and so there will be a Part II. Please subscribe to find out when the post goes up.
In February of 2019, I was flown up to Montreal to cover composer/guitarist Tim Brady’s evening of 150 guitars for Guitar Player. You can read my coverage and interview about that here and see a sample below. Inspired by my conversation with Dither’s James Moore, after we finished Tim’s GP interview, I restarted the recorder for a wide ranging dialogue about the state of the electric guitar in today’s classical world. We covered a lot of ground so I broke it up into two posts. You can start with Part I here, but it is not necessary.
In February of 2019, I was flown up to Montreal to cover composer/guitarist Tim Brady’s evening of 150 guitars for Guitar Player. You can read my coverage and interview about that here and see a sample below. Inspired by my conversation with Dither’s James Moore, after we finished Tim’s GP interview, I restarted the recorder for a wide ranging dialogue about the state of the electric guitar in today’s classical world. We covered a lot of ground so I am breaking it up into two posts. If you enjoy Part I, please subscribe to be notified when Part II is posted.
I am way behind on these but here are a bunch to keep you busy until I catch up
Sun Speak Moon Preach [Flood Records]
On Sun Speak’s release Moon Preach, Chicago guitarist Matt Gold, with Nate Friedman (drums and percussion), carve out a unique, dark, moody sound that contains overtones of jazz and Americana, but is a bit more aggressive than some others exploring this territory.
JP Schlegelmilch/Jonathan Goldberger/Jim Black Visitors [Bandcamp]
Every few years the organ trio gets reinvented. Guitarist Goldberger’s group with organist/keyboardist Schlegelmilch, and drummer Black delivers a personal take on the combination that builds on work done by Larry Young, and later John Abercrombie.
The Lie Detectors Part III Secret Unit [Chant Records]
The latest from Eyal Maoz is a killer guitar/drums workout with moments of mayhem mixed with quieter but no less sonically interesting and intense music.
Jessica Ackerley A New Kind of Water [Bandcamp]
Ackerley coaxes warm tones out of her Strat while demonstrating an advanced sense of space and musical interaction.
Ben Goldberg Good Day For Fishing [Pyroclastic Records]
Fascinating concept: Goldberg wrote 12 pieces based on poems by Dean Young. He then gathered trumpeter Ron Miles and guitarist Nels Cline, and the trio recorded those pieces. Young then wrote 12 poems based on listening to those pieces being recorded, without knowing which poem each piece was based on. The boxed set comes with the CD, notes and 12 cards, with the before and after poems printed on either side. What could have been a gimmick has resulted in some excellent music.
Max Kutner rummagelore [Bandcamp]
Henry Kaiser collaborator Kutner offers a solo acoustic outing that ranges from pastoral Americana to Derek Bailey modern, cruising through classical and other styles along the way.
Harvey Valdes Solitude Intones Its Echo [Destiny Records]
Like Charlie Rauh’s Innocent Speller record, Valde’ recording reveals him as another master of concision (could this be a trend?). His 18 short, lyrical, solo electric guitar performances of compelling compositions hook you and leave, well before wearing out their welcome.
Record Picks is a periodic offering from Guitar Moderne: a listing of recordings brought to my attention that I feel are worthy of being brought to yours. These are not reviews. Feel free to submit recordings, but they must be purchasable worldwide, reflective of modern guitar (subjective to be sure, but no blues, classic rock, be-bop, country, etc.) and on a par with the ones above to rate a mention. Many of these are available from DMG in NYC. If you have already sent me a recording, feel free to remind me.
As Rock and Roll was turning into Rock in the Sixties, most of the great power trios retained their “roll” thanks to drummers who were rooted in jazz. When Cream entered the scene, it featured the jazziest rhythm section of them all, with Ginger Baker’s rolling, tom-tom based grooves harking back to Chico Hamilton. Baker later experimented with African music and returned to his jazz roots with a power trio of a different sort. “Time moves differently with Ginger,” Frisell once told Rolling Stone. “You could find 100 drummers to play the same tune, and Ginger would find something different to do with it.”