One day, I came across Keisuke Matsuno on Don Mount’s YouTube channel. Suddenly it was going, “Who is this guy? This is a kind of guitar I love: exactly the way he does what he does, in the context in which he does it.” Certainly, there are other guitar players playing modern guitar sounds within the context of already outside, noisy, or fully electronic music, like Matsuno’s work with Hans Tammen. Rarer is the ability to inject these elements into a largely consonant context, like Nels Cline with Wilco, Ethan Ballinger’s work with country star Lee Ann Womack, or the subversive playing Matsuno himself does in saxophonist Timo Vollbrecht’s Fly Magic ensemble.
New York guitarist Mike Baggetta has it all, from swinging modern bop chops that flow like John Abercrombie to whammy bar pedal steel licks admittedly influenced by his first guitar hero, David Torn. In the videos below you will see him go from standard format (drum, bass, sax) groups playing standards, to small orchestras, to a duo doing twisted versions of pop tunes. Through it all Baggetta maintains a level of technical proficiency, tone, creativity, and never faltering musicality that make him one of the most interesting players in a city full of distinctive guitarists.