Despite an increasing number of great recordings coming over my transom, three guitarists, Anthony Pirog, David Torn, and Mike Baggetta, dominated this year’s picks with two records each. In addition to being brilliant players who have produced stellar examples of their work on these albums, all the guitarists featured here are out in the trenches preforming live on a regular basis. In no particular order.
I can’t believe it has been four years since I spoke to Eivind Aarset, the guitarist largely responsible for sending me on this Guitar Moderne journey. Now is the perfect time, as he is featured on four new records. We spoke about three of them, and surprise, surprise, his first new guitar in, well, forever.
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.
Eivind Aarset tears it up with a trio in Prague. A little amuse bouche for Thanksgiving celebrators.
A couple of records featuring Bill Frisell in his role as excellent sideman, a bunch of Tim Motzer releases, and some new faces.