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 have been using ZT amps for well over a decade. When I was living in Manhattan, their Lunchbox was a godsend, allowing me to take the subway to gigs, avoiding traffic and parking issues. Now in Nashville, I still use the Lunchbox for living room rehearsals with a country band (Including drums). I have also done a couple of house concerts using two Lunchbox amps as a stereo PA for my “guitar-through-laptop-ambient-excursions.” So, I was excited to try out the new Lee Ranaldo Club.
I am way behind on these but here are a bunch to keep you busy until I catch up
Sun Speak Moon Preach [Flood Records]
On Sun Speak’s release Moon Preach, Chicago guitarist Matt Gold, with Nate Friedman (drums and percussion), carve out a unique, dark, moody sound that contains overtones of jazz and Americana, but is a bit more aggressive than some others exploring this territory.
JP Schlegelmilch/Jonathan Goldberger/Jim Black Visitors [Bandcamp]
Every few years the organ trio gets reinvented. Guitarist Goldberger’s group with organist/keyboardist Schlegelmilch, and drummer Black delivers a personal take on the combination that builds on work done by Larry Young, and later John Abercrombie.
The Lie Detectors Part III Secret Unit [Chant Records]
The latest from Eyal Maoz is a killer guitar/drums workout with moments of mayhem mixed with quieter but no less sonically interesting and intense music.
Jessica Ackerley A New Kind of Water [Bandcamp]
Ackerley coaxes warm tones out of her Strat while demonstrating an advanced sense of space and musical interaction.
Ben Goldberg Good Day For Fishing [Pyroclastic Records]
Fascinating concept: Goldberg wrote 12 pieces based on poems by Dean Young. He then gathered trumpeter Ron Miles and guitarist Nels Cline, and the trio recorded those pieces. Young then wrote 12 poems based on listening to those pieces being recorded, without knowing which poem each piece was based on. The boxed set comes with the CD, notes and 12 cards, with the before and after poems printed on either side. What could have been a gimmick has resulted in some excellent music.
Max Kutner rummagelore [Bandcamp]
Henry Kaiser collaborator Kutner offers a solo acoustic outing that ranges from pastoral Americana to Derek Bailey modern, cruising through classical and other styles along the way.
Harvey Valdes Solitude Intones Its Echo [Destiny Records]
Like Charlie Rauh’s Innocent Speller record, Valde’ recording reveals him as another master of concision (could this be a trend?). His 18 short, lyrical, solo electric guitar performances of compelling compositions hook you and leave, well before wearing out their welcome.
Record Picks is a periodic offering from Guitar Moderne: a listing of recordings brought to my attention that I feel are worthy of being brought to yours. These are not reviews. Feel free to submit recordings, but they must be purchasable worldwide, reflective of modern guitar (subjective to be sure, but no blues, classic rock, be-bop, country, etc.) and on a par with the ones above to rate a mention. Many of these are available from DMG in NYC. If you have already sent me a recording, feel free to remind me.
Apologies for the dearth of posts. I have people trying to migrate my site away from the awful Bluehost and it has been taking longer than expected. It is still not done but they have fixed the email and assure me I can post, so here is a Guitar Festival for those increasingly hot days when you don’t want to go outside.
Sidsel Endresen and Stian Westerhus live at the Torino Jazz Festival 2019
Fred Frith Quartet at the Festival Météo, Mulhouse, 2015
Nels Cline and Yuka C Honda collectively known as FIG performing “Purple & Red” at The Stone on Aug 26 2016
In the four years since we spotlighted Mike Baggetta he has been a busy man. He has relocated from New York City to Knoxville, Tennessee; played on David Torn’s Sun of Goldfinger record; gigged with Nels Cline playing lap steel (Cline on steel, not Baggetta), and released Wall of Flowers [Big Ego Records]. The last features a true supergroup power trio, ala a modern day Cream, as Baggetta, Mike Watt, and session legend, Jim Keltner join forces. Knoxville being relatively close to Nashville, Baggetta has been playing here quite a bit and took time before a gig at Rudy’s Jazz Club to come over and talk about Wall of Flowers and the joys of looping with a TimeFactor.