The death of Nana Vasconcelos has brought back memories of a crucial stage in my musical development. By the time I moved to San Francisco in the mid Eighties, I had been listening to records on the ECM label for a long time, usually seeking records that featured guitarists like Terje Rypdal, John Abercrombie, Pat Metheny, David Torn, and Bill Frisell. Nana Vasconcelos was also featured on many of them. I was drawn to one he played on by the listing of a guitarist of whom I had never heard, Frode Alnaes. It was Sagn by bassist Arild Andersen and it seemed to relate to me directly. I had been playing with singer/songwriters for most of my career, always looking for creative ways to accompany them. The music on Sagn is based on Norwegian folk music. In typical Scandinavian musician fashion, Sagn ignored all boundaries and couched Kristen Braten Berg’s singing in jazz, rock, ambient, and Brazilian musics.
Guitar Moderne is all about the amazing stylistic variety of guitarists practicing their art in the 21rst Century. The zine exists, in large part, to help expose these artists to an audience that might not find them otherwise. In that spirit, here is the Guitar Moderne’s first curated festival of modern guitar. These guitarists offer a wide spectrum of music that employs the instrument in personal and idiosyncratic rather than idiomatic ways. If you like the artists please purchase their recordings and go see them live—Enjoy!