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August 2002






Guitar Player

Since disbanding The Shadows back in 1990, Hank Marvin has recorded a variety of cool guitar instrumental albums with a number of fine players. On his 2002 studio album, Guitar Player, Hank joins forces with a round of players including his son Ben Marvin (on Martin and Taylor guitars), Roy Martinez (bass) and Ric Eastman (drums). In his liner notes for the album, Hank adds, “I enjoyed the challenge of interpreting these songs on acoustic guitar instead of on my usual Strat.” Playing a Farvino acoustic guitar, Hank and friends summon up Shadows-inspired, instrumental covers of pop classics like “Ticket To Ride”, “Eleanor Rigby”, “Sunny Afternoon”, “Hotel California” and “Your Song”, adding in a round of tasty Marvin originals. A certified guitar legend from the late ‘50s / early ‘60s dawn of the English rock and roll scene, Hank is in prime form on Guitar Player. All of Hank’s in-print solo albums, dating back to his first solo set from 1969 and a whole range of Shadows and guitar related reissues and new titles—from 1958-2002—can be ordered from England’s excellent mail order company Leo’s Den

Strange Beautiful Music

Instrumental rock guitar great Joe Satriani breaks new ground on his eighth solo album. Sure, the rock solid, riff-saturated guitar shredder sounds are still there, but overall Strange Beautiful Music marks a new direction for the guitarist. According to Joe, “I was looking to bring something new and different to the table”, and the outcome is a more sensitized Satriani sound—the harder edges balanced with a new depth of feeling and accessibility. Satch receives outstanding support from noted players like Matt Bissonette (bass) and Jeff Campitelli (drums) while King Crimson guitar icon Robert Fripp lends a hand on Joe’s stellar version of the Santo & Johnny classic “Sleepwalk”. 

The Willies

With all the ongoing interest in American roots and blues music, it seems a natural for guitar guru Bill Frisell to offer his latest take on the genre. For Frisell’s latest drummer-less exploration of American bluegrass and country music, he’s assisted by Danny Barnes (banjo, guitar) and Keith Lowe (bass). In the spirit of Frisell’s recent efforts (especially his 2000 album Ghost Town), the cover art of The Willies is hilarious, yet the all instrumental set is really convincing. Performing the electric / acoustic guitars and loops, Frisell’s covers of American standards like “Goodnight Irene”, a sublime version of “Blackberry Blossom” and the stoic CD-opener “Sittin’ On Top Of The World” are solidly on the money, while his own originals fit right in with the subtle nature of the 16 track album.  


The 2002 CD from Minnesota-based guitarist Reynold D. Philipsek—simply entitled Guitar—carries on the spirit of Philipsek’s excellent 2001 all-instrumental release 14 Pieces For Guitar. As a guitarist and songwriter Philipsek does it all—a fact best evidenced with his album Middle-Aged Child Prodigy, an album that demonstrates Reynold’s uncanny skills as a gifted pop singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. With the spotlight shining bright on just one man and one guitar, Guitar finds Philipsek in prime form summoning up well-done instrumental covers of sentimental standards like “One Note Samba”, “The Days Of Wine And Roses” and “Satin Doll”. He expertly executes these time-honored standards and, once again, Philipsek actually surpasses himself on the originals, especially his supremely melodic “Sunday”.

(Marvel Of Beauty)

In the spirit of mid ‘70s King Crimson and guitarist Terje Rypdal, Danish musician Robin Taylor is a master of the minimalist approach to instrumental progressive rock. On his latest CD Samplicity, Taylor sparingly uses his electric guitar sounds, while also lacing his traumatic and soothing soundscapes with piano and the saxophone of horn legend Karsten Vogel. Each thought provoking piece has an identity of it’s own and Samplicity is an excellent model of where progressive rock and jazz should be heading in the new century. Taylor’s fine electric guitar skills can also be heard on his 1998 instrumental album Experimental Health—a much more rocked-out affair than Samplicity—which finds the guitarist backed by his group Taylor’s Universe including Secret Oyster sax great Karsten Vogel. 

I Must Be Dreaming

The follow up to his ‘90s albums Heart Coming Home and Passion Dance, the latest from California guitarist Tomas Michaud, I Must Be Dreaming continues his passion for flamenco-flavored, smooth jazz instrumentals. A mixture of Worldbeat rhythms and cool, tropical acoustic guitar jazz, I Must Be Dreaming is a total joy to hear. Assisted by Wayne Ledbetter (sax) and Brian Rice (percussion), Michaud dazzles with his expert acoustic guitar work and imaginative, vivacious compositions. Reflecting his colorful, tropical music, the front cover art is absolutely stunning.

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