Rafiq Bhatia is poised to become a force in modern guitar. His trio was the best guitar-based show at the last Big Ears Festival pre-Covid—and that festival included shows by David Torn and Bill Frisell! Check out his record “Breaking English.” He is also in a band called Son Lux that released a three record project in 2021: Tomorrows I,II,& III. If D’Angelo and Bowie had a baby, it might sound something like Son Lux. We talk about all this, and more. I suggest you go to here for his National Sawdust performance and our talk about it. I have posted the original interview I did with him for Electronic Musician below as well.
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.
With acoustic guitars largely still based in centuries-old technology, there is rarely an opportunity to talk about them in Guitar Moderne. Thus, I was happy to feature the Lava guitar in my NAMM report a couple of years ago. The Asian-based manufacturer Lava presents more like a technology company than a luthier-based enterprise, but either in spite of that or because of it I find them intriguing.