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  1. #1

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    Newb to the forum. Been hanging out at mandolincafe for a decade or so, but immersing myself in jazz guitar right now. At my lesson last evening I asked my teacher for a list of *three* MUST-HEAR jazz guitar albums. I saw the Top 100 threads here at JGF. I’m asking for three recommendations. Don’t think ‘top three of all time’ - just three albums you think anyone interested in jazz guitar should absolutely not miss hearing at some point in their journey. I’m expecting a wide range of responses from different eras, but I’m interested to see if there are certain albums that appear consistently. Hoping this thread will give me a dozen or two (or three) albums across the responses to seek out, and wonder if I already own any of them. My teacher’s list:

    George Barnes - Plays So Good
    Wes Montgomery - Full House
    Joe Pass - Virtuoso

    I don’t have a jazz guitar list (yet), so I’ll offer a blues guitar list:

    Robert Johnson - The Complete Recordings
    Stevie Ray Vaughan - Texas Flood
    Eric Clapton - Sessions for Robert J

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  3. #2

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    Hi!

    Here is my list of albums you must listen to:

    •”Bright Size Life” - Pat Metheny

    •”The Wes Montgomery Trio” - Wes Montgomery

    •”Live!” - Jim Hall

    Edit: For some reason, I realized now that this list only contains trio albums. Maybe it isn’t what you’re looking for, but still all of them are important albums in the history of jazz guitar as a concept.
    Have I found it yet? I said that but I didn’t knew it. Did I knew that I had found it yet? No, it wasn’t what I was looking for. Nevermind. Ok.

    -Pataphysical monologue based on Cartesian theory

  4. #3

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    Jim Hall Jazz Guitar
    Sonny Rollins The Bridge
    George Benson It's Uptown
    -----------------------------------

    "The instrument keeps me humble. Sometimes I pick it up and it seems to say, "No, you can't play today." I keep at it anyway, though." Jim Hall

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Bbmaj7#5#9 View Post
    Hi!

    •”Bright Size Life” - Pat Metheny
    One for the ‘got-it’ list! My favorite Metheny album.

  6. #5

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    I would suggest:

    Wes Montgomery, Smoking at the Half Note
    Joe Pass, For Django
    Charlie Christian, Jazz Guitar Genius (these tracks are also out under other titles)
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bbmaj7#5#9 View Post
    Hi!

    Here is my list of albums you must listen to:

    •”Bright Size Life” - Pat Metheny

    •”The Wes Montgomery Trio” - Wes Montgomery

    •”Live!” - Jim Hall

    Edit: For some reason, I realized now that this list only contains trio albums. Maybe it isn’t what you’re looking for, but still all of them are important albums in the history of jazz guitar as a concept.
    I wonder if it was your subconscious because he asked for three. Had he asked for five maybe you would have gone for quintet?

    Great selection. BSL would no doubt also be on any list of mine. I love trios and played in one for a long time.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by blille View Post
    I wonder if it was your subconscious because he asked for three. Had he asked for five maybe you would have gone for quintet?

    Great selection. BSL would no doubt also be on any list of mine. I love trios and played in one for a long time.
    Thanks! It’s funny because I’ve always associated jazz guitar albums with trio settings for some reason. I don’t know why, maybe it’s my subconscious after all.
    Have I found it yet? I said that but I didn’t knew it. Did I knew that I had found it yet? No, it wasn’t what I was looking for. Nevermind. Ok.

    -Pataphysical monologue based on Cartesian theory

  9. #8

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    I am going to assume you're going to hear the classics sooner or later anyway (Joe Pass, Tal Farlow, Ed Bickert, Wes Montgomery, Pat Metheny, etc.). Instead I'll draw your attention to three amazing records:

    Gene Bertoncini- Body and Soul
    Jonathan Kreisberg- One
    Pete Bernstein- Live at Small's

    All three are solo guitar records. For group records:

    Julian Lage- Live in Los Angeles
    Pat Metheny- Pat Metheny Group (the first record with San Lorenzo, Phase Dance, etc.)
    Jimmy Raney & Doug Raney- Nardis
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  10. #9

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    Jazz takes many shapes and sizes. Here is your Swing Guitar Crash Course by the legends (and a modern master of the style).

    Joe Venuti & Eddie Lang: Stringing The Blues
    The Benny Goodman Sextet Featuring Charlie Christian: 1939-41
    Corky Corcoran: The Lamplighter All Star Broadcasts Of 1945 w/ Allan Reuss

    Most Honorable Mention: Pick It And Play It by Jonathan Stout (2018)
    Last edited by SandChannel; 08-09-2019 at 03:58 PM.
    Jazz isn't dead. It just smells funny. FZ

  11. #10

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    My humble opinion:

    Wes Montgomery - The Incredible Jazz Guitar
    Oscar Peterson - Hello Herbie (Herb Ellis on guitar)
    Sonny Sharrock - Ask the Ages (w/ Pharaoh Sanders on sax, Elvin Jones on drums and Charnett Moffet on bass)
    On the Turntable: Joe Morris - Colorfield, Albert Ayler - The Hilversum Session
    Guitar:
    Fender AVRI '59 w/ TI Swing 11s and Tyson Tone pickups
    Through: Polytone Mini Brute II

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by lukmanohnz View Post
    One for the ‘got-it’ list! My favorite Metheny album.

    Bright Size Life is just a milestone. Furthermore, Metheny Groups first album is also fantastic. Most of Methenys early albums are great.

    Rejoicing is also great, where he plays with Ornettes classic rhythm section, Higgins and Haden. Can't go wrong with that.
    Testing a Gibson ES335 vs Harley Benton HB 35 (very inexpensive semi hollow body guitar)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fGMIs1wNEA&t=185s

    I am playing a solo over my buddys song, Cookies and Cream

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJHqt_lpyKM

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by greveost View Post
    Bright Size Life is just a milestone. Furthermore, Metheny Groups first album is also fantastic. Most of Methenys early albums are great.

    Rejoicing is also great, where he plays with Ornettes classic rhythm section, Higgins and Haden. Can't go wrong with that.
    80/81 is also a Metheny must-have album.
    Have I found it yet? I said that but I didn’t knew it. Did I knew that I had found it yet? No, it wasn’t what I was looking for. Nevermind. Ok.

    -Pataphysical monologue based on Cartesian theory

  14. #13

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    Herb Ellis/Joe Pass - "Seven Come Eleven"

    Django Reinhardt - "Jazz in Paris: swing 39"

    Wes Montgomery - "So Much Guitar"

    Won't be disappointed, great music on all three, let alone great guitar playing.

  15. #14

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    I’m not sure if it’s a milestone in jazz history, but I think Emily Remler’s ”East To Wes” is also a great album to explore. It’s a quartet this time, not a trio...
    Have I found it yet? I said that but I didn’t knew it. Did I knew that I had found it yet? No, it wasn’t what I was looking for. Nevermind. Ok.

    -Pataphysical monologue based on Cartesian theory

  16. #15
    Thanks everyone for these responses. I’m getting some great information here. Keep ‘em coming!! My introduction to jazz was through trumpet and flugelhorn. I have a LOT of jazz albums - Miles Davis, Art Farmer, Chuck Mangione (his early stuff was so great), Lee Morgan, Diz. But apart from Metheny, John Scofield and Bill Frisell I have a dearth of jazz guitar albums in my collection. I think I have one Wes Montgomery compilation. Most of my collection is in storage right now. I’m really looking forward to exploring the suggestions on this thread!

    One album in my collection I would shelve under jazz guitar is McCoy Tyner’s Guitars. I liked the DVD that came in the package and the music was very interesting to listen to - Marc Ribot’s stuff was some of my favorite playing on this set (and I bought it mostly to hear Derek Trucks in a different setting). I wonder what others thought of it. For me, it wouldn’t make a three album MUST-HEAR list.

    (Also just remembered I have quite a few Mike Stern CDs.... ;-)
    Last edited by lukmanohnz; 08-10-2019 at 09:44 AM. Reason: Another thought...

  17. #16
    Went to a record store yesterday. (Yes, a few still exist.) None of the suggestions from this thread save one were in the racks (I didn’t check vinyl - I should have checked the vinyl!) I came home with a few concessions: Moving Wes (only one I’ve listened to so far - I enjoyed it but not quite what I’m looking for), a Joe Pass ‘greatest hits’ collection from Fantasy, and Djangology. I did find a Charlie Christian compilation from Columbia (The Genius of the Electric Guitar) that might be from Lawson’s list.

    Also, I remembered that I have a CD of early George Benson stuff from CTI. Pretty sure it’s this one. I do remember that it is filled with amazing playing and I loved it. Gotta pull that one out of storage someday soon.

    So if you had to recommend ONE Charlie Byrd album, which would it be?

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by lukmanohnz View Post
    So if you had to recommend ONE Charlie Byrd album, which would it be?
    If I HAD to probably Jazz Samba with Getz.

    I didn’t have to I probably would recommend some Grant Green lol

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by lukmanohnz View Post
    Went to a record store yesterday. (Yes, a few still exist.) None of the suggestions from this thread save one were in the racks (I didn’t check vinyl - I should have checked the vinyl!) I came home with a few concessions: Moving Wes (only one I’ve listened to so far - I enjoyed it but not quite what I’m looking for), a Joe Pass ‘greatest hits’ collection from Fantasy, and Djangology. I did find a Charlie Christian compilation from Columbia (The Genius of the Electric Guitar) that might be from Lawson’s list.

    Also, I remembered that I have a CD of early George Benson stuff from CTI. Pretty sure it’s this one. I do remember that it is filled with amazing playing and I loved it. Gotta pull that one out of storage someday soon.

    So if you had to recommend ONE Charlie Byrd album, which would it be?
    I’ve seen this problem too with jazz cd’s. My suggestion is that you next time search for a specialized vinyl record store. If it’s oriented towards jazz music, that’s even better! Probably 95 percent of my jazz music collection are vinyl albums. I’m very sure you’ll find something good there. Vinyl stores usually have a large amount of albums in many different genres, jazz music included of course. Even the smaller stores have a good assortment of classic jazz albums. Search for jazz vinyls and you’ll hopefully find what you want!

    If you don’t find the albums anywhere, you can find them on iTunes and Spotify. There are of course exceptions, but I think many of the albums we’ve mentioned are easy to find.
    Last edited by Bbmaj7#5#9; 08-11-2019 at 12:45 PM.
    Have I found it yet? I said that but I didn’t knew it. Did I knew that I had found it yet? No, it wasn’t what I was looking for. Nevermind. Ok.

    -Pataphysical monologue based on Cartesian theory

  20. #19

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    Kind of Blue
    Wes Smokin
    Burrell Midnight Blue

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bbmaj7#5#9 View Post
    I’ve seen this problem too with jazz cd’s. My suggestion is that you next time search for a specialized vinyl record store. If it’s oriented towards jazz music, that’s even better! Probably 95 percent of my jazz music collection are vinyl albums. I’m very sure you’ll find something good there. Vinyl stores usually have a large amount of albums in many different genres, jazz music included of course. Even the smaller stores have a good assortment of classic jazz albums. Search for jazz vinyls and you’ll hopefully find what you want!

    If you don’t find the albums anywhere, you can find them on iTunes and Spotify. There are of course exceptions, but I think many of the albums we’ve mentioned are easy to find.
    All true.

    Pretty sure they are all on YouTube as well.

  22. #21

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    Barney Kessel, The Poll Winners
    Gabor Szabo, Spellbinder or The Sorcerer
    Johnny Smith, Moonlight in Vermont or The Man with the Blue Guitar

  23. #22

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    I have to add "Two Jims and Zoot" which I hadn't hear in years. Jim Hall, Jimmy Raney, Zoot Sims, Steve Swallow (bass) and Osie Johnson (drums). I took it for a spin and wow what riveting stuff. The ensemble playing on the heads is amazing, the solos are great, the distinction between Hall and Raney is interesting (as I understand it, Raney is also plugged into Hall's Gibson GA-50 amp). I am listening to the iTunes remastered version and the sound is excellent- the source recording seems to have been very well done.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  24. #23

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    Three More ...

    Ailla Zoller "Common Cause"
    Tal Farlow "The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow"
    Wes Montgomery "Tequilla"

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by lukmanohnz View Post
    Newb to the forum. Been hanging out at mandolincafe for a decade or so, but immersing myself in jazz guitar right now. At my lesson last evening I asked my teacher for a list of *three* MUST-HEAR jazz guitar albums. I saw the Top 100 threads here at JGF. I’m asking for three recommendations. Don’t think ‘top three of all time’ - just three albums you think anyone interested in jazz guitar should absolutely not miss hearing at some point in their journey. I’m expecting a wide range of responses from different eras, but I’m interested to see if there are certain albums that appear consistently. Hoping this thread will give me a dozen or two (or three) albums across the responses to seek out, and wonder if I already own any of them. My teacher’s list:

    George Barnes - Plays So Good
    Wes Montgomery - Full House
    Joe Pass - Virtuoso

    I don’t have a jazz guitar list (yet), so I’ll offer a blues guitar list:

    Robert Johnson - The Complete Recordings
    Stevie Ray Vaughan - Texas Flood
    Eric Clapton - Sessions for Robert J
    Interesting your list...I listened to that SRV album and The Sky Is Crying today. Great, great sound by that band. One can only wonder what he would have done if he were still with us, not to mention what Robert Johnson would have produced. He inspired so many artists with his few recordings, including Clapton and Stevie.

    I purposefully tried not to read everyone's posts so as not to influence my choices...

    Here it is:

    Joe Pass--Virtuoso--the album that got me into jazz guitar, particularly fingerstyle. Still unparalleled IMO for virtuosity and inventiveness on the fretboard.

    George Benson--A Weekend in LA--yes, purists will disapprove, but what a great album both for guitar and vocals. And a better version of Breezin' than the studio version. The energy level on that record is over the top. And what an entertainer. If you don't like something on this record, you really must not like music.

    Kenny Burrell--Midnight Blue--the epitome of tasteful, old school jazz guitar. The best tone in all of jazz, IMHO. He makes it seem so easy and go down so smooth. If we sent a record into space and wanted to show aliens what jazz guitar was like, this would be the album they should send.
    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

  26. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff View Post
    Interesting your list...I listened to that SRV album and The Sky Is Crying today. Great, great sound by that band. One can only wonder what he would have done if he were still with us, not to mention what Robert Johnson would have produced. He inspired so many artists with his few recordings, including Clapton and Stevie.

    I purposefully tried not to read everyone's posts so as not to influence my choices...

    Here it is:

    Joe Pass--Virtuoso--the album that got me into jazz guitar, particularly fingerstyle. Still unparalleled IMO for virtuosity and inventiveness on the fretboard.

    George Benson--A Weekend in LA--yes, purists will disapprove, but what a great album both for guitar and vocals. And a better version of Breezin' than the studio version. The energy level on that record is over the top. And what an entertainer. If you don't like something on this record, you really must not like music.

    Kenny Burrell--Midnight Blue--the epitome of tasteful, old school jazz guitar. The best tone in all of jazz, IMHO. He makes it seem so easy and go down so smooth. If we sent a record into space and wanted to show aliens what jazz guitar was like, this would be the album they should send.
    Thanks very much for your comments, Jeff. Yup - The Sky Is Crying is one of my all-time favorites. SRV was such an amazing musician - I love watching the videos he left us, especially the two performances at Montreux.

    Your album recommendations are notable, especially since you mentioned that you avoided reading the other comments in order to avoid biasing your choices. My instructor also recommended the Joe Pass Virtuoso album, and in fact I just received it yesterday and have listened to it in full (one 'pass' so far, pun intended). Wow - So. Many. Ideas. And they seem to just flow out of him spontaneously and continuously. It's like he's got so much music inside that needs to be expressed. Amazing.

    I LOVE Benson's Weekend in L.A. !! That one is in my vinyl collection and I expect that I probably bought it when it was released. When I posted this thread I had not realized that in fact I do own more than a few jazz guitar albums. I also own Breezin' and the aforementioned Benson CTI collection.

    And now that Kenny Burrell's Midnight Blue has been mentioned by more than one respondent, it's on my need-it list.

  27. #26

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    So many iconic albums from days gone by. I'm often nostalgic, so anything Stan Getz I come back to time and time again, so yes Getz/Gilberto gets a nod.

    George Benson's Take Five and Body Talk LP's.





    But...there were so many great great albums from back in the day. And one only gets 3?

    Okay.

    Chick Corea's Mad Hatter, and Friends LP's.

    On Dear Alice, Corea's drum work, at piano, is outstanding. Featuring greats Steve Gadd, Eddie Gomez, Joe Farrell, the synergy between them is tremendous. Dear Alice and Humpty Dumpty, where Farrell's solos shine, are my favorites. Farrell on flute and sax was in a zone! I defy anyone who listens to any of these 4 tunes to do so without body parts lashing out to keep up with their grooves. Yes it's from 1978 but who cares, it's an extended celebration for the end of disco!





    Corea, Farrell, Gomez all shine on the Friend's LP. On Samba Song Steve Gadd's solo is off the charts



    Last edited by 2bornot2bop; 08-15-2019 at 09:11 PM.
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  28. #27

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    One album in my collection I would shelve under jazz guitar is McCoy Tyner’s Guitars. I liked the DVD that came in the package and the music was very interesting to listen to - Marc Ribot’s stuff was some of my favorite playing on this set (and I bought it mostly to hear Derek Trucks in a different setting). I wonder what others thought of it. For me, it wouldn’t make a three album MUST-HEAR list.
    I have that record and I had a mixed reaction to it. It seemed tome that Trucks and Bela Fleck were slightly in awe of Tyner and were holding back a bit, Scofield reacted as a peer and did not hold back - almost as if he had to prove that fact. Frisell and Ribot are so utterly themselves that I heard Tyner bending toward their approach while I felt that Fleck and Trucks leaned in to Tyner in a bubble of awe and respect to be in the studio with legends like Tyner and Ron Carter, who the notes say, did not hold back in putting the young's in their place. It's an interesting concept. The record Tyner made with Stephane Grappelli has TYNER holding back in deference to Grappelli's elder statesmen status and rather diatonic view of the musical world.

  29. #28

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    Besides the obvious picks I would like to add:


    - Jesse van Ruller: Live at Murphy's Law (https://open.spotify.com/album/6fyVKT30CIuyNmxhAJKOpO)

    (for those who have not or do not want to create (free) spotify account, here is one tune (Detour Ahead) from the album on youtu.be/a9MQ0JFy4cg?t=41)

    All tunes on the album are masterpiece itself, try End of a Love Affair, unfortunately there is no clip on youtube of that tune from this album.

    - Peter Bernstein: Signs Live! (Peter Bernstein on Spotify)
    What a quartet!

    - Jonathan Kreisberg: Nine Stories Wide (Nine Stories Wide by Jonathan Kreisberg on Spotify)

    I may understand if one do not like Kreisberg's kinda mechanical patterns, but try to get over that part, the rest is such a lyric music, kinda poetry... and what an independent sounding chord an melody together technique.




    -

  30. #29

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    I realize I've added wrong link to the Bernstein album in my previous post, but either when trying to edit or quote my post, it give empty text...

    - Peter Bernstein: Signs Live! (https://open.spotify.com/album/5OXOaOfXIJW7cQ28K5bL0E)

  31. #30

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    I'm new here but

    3 by living players
    Live in LA by Julian Lage
    La QuecumBar International Gypsy Swing Guitar Festival (the 4 Sebastian Giniaux tracks...there is other good stuff on there but he is mind blowing)
    Gilad Hekselman - anything...I confess I don't end up listening to him enough but I do love him. His recent version of Teen Town is great.

  32. #31

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    • Nels Cline Lovers - beautiful large ensemble mood music
    • Ben Monder Day after Day - solo and trio covers, the fuzzed out/doomy version of Goldfinger is truly wonderful and mind-altering
    • Bill Frisell/Thomas Morgan Small Town - bass/guitar duo that is gorgeous, the title track is especially captivating

  33. #32
    I really appreciate all the responses to this thread. It’s great to see the variety of suggestions. I’m going to refer to this list every time I head to the record store. I did wind up getting the three albums my teacher recommended. I really enjoyed all of them, especially the bonus tracks on the remastered Full House CD. I also grabbed these two collections:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    A 10-CD collection of jazz guitar for $20 was hard to pass up. And the bossa nova collection will be enjoyable I’m sure.

    At my teacher’s recommendation I also grabbed Pat Martino’s El Hombre which I *really* (really, really) love. That one has jumped to the top of my nascent must-hear list. Lastly, I have finally gotten around to listening to Djangology. I know I’ve heard some of Django’s stuff before, but I feel as though I am hearing it with different ears now, and as though for the first time. Just..... wow. That dude could play. What a master. I had the incredible good fortune to see Paco De Lucia live before we lost him. There are only a small handful of musicians I’ve seen live that displayed that level of mastery on their instrument. Django strikes me as someone who was at that level - as though there’s seemingly no impedance mismatch between his inner musical impulses and his physical expression of them on his guitar.

    So I’m soliciting more suggestions! Keep ‘em coming!!

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by P.J. View Post
    • Nels Cline Lovers - beautiful large ensemble mood music
    • Ben Monder Day after Day - solo and trio covers, the fuzzed out/doomy version of Goldfinger is truly wonderful and mind-altering
    • Bill Frisell/Thomas Morgan Small Town - bass/guitar duo that is gorgeous, the title track is especially captivating
    Those are all good albums by contemporary players. I have only listened to a few songs from Monder's new album. His album Hydra is a personal favorite, which surprises me even after many listenings.

    The Nels Cline album is superb as well. He is a very underrated guitarist, in a sense, as he is one of the most adept and innovative guitarists around, equally at home playing standards or noise rock. He's one of the few people whose massive pedalboard and effects I will vouch for.

    That album Lovers is a throwback to classy, mature ensemble recordings like Stan Getz or Jim Hall used to do, or even Birth of the Cool. Great, great arrangements and highly recommended.
    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.