The American trumpeter and composer Jon Hassel’s sound influenced guitarists like Eivind Aarset and, well, me, as well myriad other musicians. He passed away on June 26, 2021. This year he would have turned 85 and to honor him Nasjonal jazzscene in Oslo, Norway put on a terrific memorial concert on his birthday, March 22.
The 2022 Guthman Musical Instrument Competition started with 26 semifinalists from 16 different countries. After an online showcase of the semifinalists, a committee of Georgia Tech faculty and public voting decided which creators would compete at the final stage. Nine advanced to the competition’s final round. They met on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 11 and 12, 2022, to compete for $10,000 in prizes. While none of these won, they do indicate some possible future directions for making music with guitar skills.
It is getting hard to keep up with all the terrific new releases. Modern guitar continues to make inroads in places as far-flung as Argentina, Switzerland, and Tasmania. The pandemic has resulted in works that are largely solo or remote collaborations, but no less successful than the in person collabs.
Shahzad Ismaily is a multi-instrumentalist perhaps best known for his bass work with Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog. He has also worked with Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed, Tom Waits, John Zorn, Shelley Hirsch, Nels Cline, Graham Haynes, Billy Martin (of Medeski Martin and Wood), and Burnt Sugar, among many others. Thanks to Jam Pedals we have this fascinating interview.
Joe and I go back decades. He is responsible for jump-starting my career as a music journalist. He has played guitar with PJ Harvey, Tracey Chapman, and Tom Waits, been an editor at Guitar Player Magazine and Premier Guitar, worked on guitar-based things for Apple’s Logic, and designed pedals. He just released his terrific first solo record, Falling Through Time: Music From The 1300s. A collection of ancient music played on modern instruments. We talk about everything under the sun.