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 noticed a recent trend toward a resurgence of headless guitar designs being favored by modern guitarists. Rick Toone builds beautiful examples of this style guitar (as well as “headed versions”). He had the idea to ask some clients, Chris Buono, Todd Haug, Killick Hinds, Ken Kinter, Gabriel Levi, Steve Sjuggerud, and Ede Wright, to record an album of music featuring his instruments. The result is a terrific compilation of modern guitar improvisation.
When modern guitarist and 1K Records mogul, Tim Motzer gets together with modern jazz guitar legend Kurt Rosenwinkel and drummer Gintas Janusonis to perform as Bandit65, there is no written music, no songs, no plan. The three musicians jump off a cliff and create music from nothing as they fall. Except that they don’t fall. Working without a safety net, they float gently on currents of magical music, composed in the moment. Tim and Kurt were kind enough to talk to Guitar Moderne about their process and gear.
I can’t believe it has been four years since I spoke to Eivind Aarset, the guitarist largely responsible for sending me on this Guitar Moderne journey. Now is the perfect time, as he is featured on four new records. We spoke about three of them, and surprise, surprise, his first new guitar in, well, forever.