Guitar Moderne Festival XX

Summer festival season will be here before you know it. Hopefully we will be virus-free by then and you can enjoy the outdoors in the company of like-minded music fans. Either way, you can count on Guitar Moderne to supply virtual festivals like this to enjoy in the air-conditioned, Portapotty and germ-free comfort of your home.

We start the proceedings with this amazing Terje Rypdal trio concert from a decade ago that I seem to have missed, with Miroslav Vitous triggering orchestral samples.

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Guitar Moderne Festival: Big Ears Edition

Big Ears starts Thursday. For those of you attending, here is a sample of the amazing guitar performances planned. For those of you who can’t make it, here is what you will be missing. There are still General Admission tix available, so if you can get to Knoxville this week, please do.

Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan

Sun of Goldfinger

The Messthetics

Mary Halvorson and Code Girl

Thumbscrew

Rafiq Bahtia

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Movie Review: Open Land: Meeting John Abercrombie

Today marks the release by ECM of Open Land: Meeting John Abercrombie, a film by Arno Oehri and Oliver Primus. Music docs usually have a variety of talking heads discussing the artist, but almost all the speaking in this film is done by Abercrombie. He talks about his childhood, and his attraction to electric, not acoustic guitar. He is shown talking to and about luthier Rick McCurdy. Speaking of his guitar collection, Abercrombie demonstrates the dry wit with which anyone who knew him was familiar. “It’s easier than collecting pianos,” he says.

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Spotlight: Marc Sinan

Sometimes you start listening to a recording and instantly know you are hearing something special. On the ECM release, White, guitarist Marc Sinan joins Oğuz Büyükberber on clarinet, bass clarinet for a series of partly composed, partly improvised duets. And when I say joins, I mean joins; rarely have I hear two artists so in synch they sound like a single consciousness. Sinan augments his custom-made electric with intermittent real-time processing, and extended techniques positioned to add maximum emotional weight. Sinan discusses his unique take on “classical” music combined with improvisation.

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Guitar Moderne Top Records of 2017

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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.

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