For audio samples you'll 
need the RealPlayer

February / March 2003








Mambo Sinuendo

Citing influences like Cuban Mambo jazz king Perez Prado, Stan Kenton’s Cuban Fire sound, Henry Mancini’s “Evil a la Prado” and even the mambo-esque sound of Duane Eddy and his version of “Theme From Peter Gunn”, American guitar hero Ry Cooder joins forces with Cuban guitarist Manuel Galbán on the amazing Mambo Sinuendo. Also featuring drumming legend Jim Keltner, Ry’s son Joachim Cooder and Buena Vista Social Club bassist Orlando “Cachaíto” López, the 2003 CD is a fruitful union of two incredible guitar masters and also introduces Galbán to the American audiences. Galbán’s been playing in his native Cuba since 1944 and earned his reputation in 1963 with his otherworldly, surf-riffed electric guitar sound as the lead guitarist in the leading Cuban vocal group Los Zafiros. Since his early years on Warner Bros. and classic discs like Get Rhythm and the Paris, Texas soundtrack, Cooder was always a master at merging all forms of tropical and exotic guitar genres and styles and with Mambo Sinuendo he’s clearly hit a new pinnacle. Cooder and Galbán make a formidable guitar team and the mostly instrumental set superbly straddles a number of genres with ease and delivers with a fantastic Latin guitar groove. You can’t miss the albums incredible cover art. File this one under Mambo Surf Instrumental.


(Favored Nations)

Back in the ‘80s guitarist Tak Matsumoto formed the rock group B’z in his native Japan going to sell an enormous 80 million units. Matsumoto began his solo career around the same time and has gone on to release a number of acclaimed solo albums since. His latest, Hana was picked up by guitarist Steve Vai and his label Favored Nations. Regarding his first U.S. release Tak adds, “Of course, all my life as a guitarist, I have been influenced by Western music, which still sometimes shows in my work, but at my core, there exists an Asian spirit with Asian melodies. So I let this flow out naturally in this album, Hana.” A perfect album for fans of Jeff Beck’s more melodic sounds as well as Al DiMeola and Jan Akkerman, Hana blends a wide range of jazz and rock instrumental grooves. The CD is superbly recorded and overall, Matsumoto’s East-West fusion guitar sound is a most pleasant surprise indeed.



A division of the New Jersey- based Laser’s Edge, Sensory released the second album from progressive instrumental rockers Gordian Knot entitled Emergent. Sure to be among the critically acclaimed progressive albums of 2003, Emergent is not only backed up by eight memorable and highly atmospheric tracks, but it also features some of the genre’s most gifted players. Spearheaded by bassist and stick virtuoso Sean Malone, the second Gordian Knot album also benefits thanks to key contributions from drumming legend Bill Bruford, Genesis guitar great Steve Hackett and Jim Matheos, guitarist from the group Fates Warning. Several other fine players including Paul Masvidal (guitar), Jason Gobel (guitar) and Sean Reinert (drums) round out the group. Currently teaching music theory at the University of Orgeon, Malone compares the two Gordian Knot album adding, “On this one, the compositional arc is larger. It contains a wide gamut of textures and there’s a little more focus on melody, something to bring it all together.” The addition of Bruford and Hackett to the mix clearly makes this excellent lineup that much better. Emergent is a sonic treat for fans of intelligent, well crafted progressive instrumental albums. /


Modern Rock Guitar Vol.III

Guitarist Denis Taaffe puts his guitar rig into overdrive on his latest album of sequenced guitar loops and heavy percussion beats. Performing all the electric guitar parts and sequencing sublime drum loop patterns, Taaffe’s intriguing one man band approach reaps rewards on what is clearly his best solo album to date. Sounding greatly inspired by the skill and vision of say, Robert Fripp combined the dynamic guitar pyrotechnics of Robin Trower, Taaffe lays down the almighty groove on MRG3. Proof that mixing improvised rock guitar and drum loops can be both challenging and entertaining, MRG3 conjures a wide variety of musical moods and settings while exuding a strong aura of originality and intensity.


2002: Other Space

Returning after their critically acclaimed second album Analogtherapy, Alien Cowboys are back in saddle again with 2002: Other Space. Lead guitar ace Ralph Perucci and rhythm guitarist Bruce Stevenson once again team up with Ian Thompson (drums) and Greg Jones (bass) and the resulting album is quite enormous in scope. With it’s sky-wide jazz-rock groove, 2002: Other Space is an all around winner. Assisted by production and engineering experts Bill Drescher and Gary Cirimelli, Alien Cowboys make good on early promises and deliver the goods here. Packed tight with eleven high octane instrumental guitar jaunts that more often than not accentuates melody and atmosphere right up there with chops and musical might, 2002: Other Space moves along at a steady clip while never missing a groove or a beat. The group’s powerhouse instrumental rock reworking of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” would make George Harrison smile.


Out For Good

Colorado-based HapiSkratch Records have made a number of guitar fans quite happy these past few years with their great albums by rock fusion guitar great Dave Beegle and they’re pretty much done it again with the debut from their latest group Dave And Davis entitled Out For Good. Featuring contributions from all around guitar virtuoso Dave Beegle, the duo of guitarist Dave Villano and keyboardist Davis Hart are joined by several key players including drummer Shawn Pickler and the resulting ten track album of sophisticated and quite melodic instrumental jazz-rock music is a solid winner. Villano demonstrates his keen caliber on all forms of electric and acoustic guitars and the music—composed by the two of them alone and together—is evocative, virtuous and energetic in all the right places. The quality of the playing and the musical content is quite high and it’s clear these guys should have a bright future.


Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed in and 20th Century Guitar. Send to P.O. Box 630249, Little Neck, N.Y. 11363-0249 e-mail:

Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed by Send to: CD Reviews Editor Robert Silverstein, P.O. Box 630249, Little Neck, N.Y. 11363-0249