Allan Holdsworth earned his place in modern guitar history early on, by virtue of his work with Soft Machine, Gong, Tony Williams Lifetime, and Bruford’s U.K.. Originally, Holdsworth wanted to play saxophone but was unable to afford one. As is often the case, necessity became the mother of invention and the British guitarist went on to develop a style that combined superhuman speed with wide intervals in order to mimic the sound of the greatest jazz saxophone players. He developed an advanced sense of harmony that led to highly complex compositions and dense, flowing lines.
When I interviewed Scott Henderson for Guitar Player, we had a great conversation that resulted in way too many words for the space allotted. I decided to concentrate on his playing and gear for the GP piece and cut out the parts that dealt with recording specifics. It is great information for any guitarist who wants better studio sound, so I am posting it in Guitar Moderne.
I hear you asking, “Guitar Moderne, where do you find all these amazing guitarists?” Well, an outsized proportion of them are found by meticulously poring over the DMG (Downtown Music Gallery) mailers. This great record store specializes in modern music, so when an unknown (to us) name is listed on guitar, we are off on a quick search of YouTube.
Recently, this search revealed an Indonesian guitarist whose blues tone, be-bop chops, and command of effects reminded us of the incredible Oz Noy. Here he is burning through some serious funk. He is also part of a band, Simak Dialog that is more Metheny-meets-Indonesian percussion.
Three guitarists displaying their chops can be a recipe for a wank-fest. But Jimmy Herrington, Wayne Krantz, and Michael Landau, performing as The Ringers, are not only three of the most technically proficient players in the world, they are three of the most musical. As happy to not play as to play, they solo and accompany here, each inhabiting a distinct musical space. Add bassist Etienne Mbappe from the Zawinul Syndicate and drummer extraordinaire Keith Carlock (Sting, Steely Dan) and you have instead a recipe for a gourmet guitar feast. Perhaps not avant-garde, but definitely modern.