MWE3 Archives - CD Reviews

Winter 1999/2000 
CD Reviews





Written by the late, great English pop composer Jerry Lordan and taken to number one in the U.K. by The Shadows, “Apache” has been a staple of numerous instrumental guitar groups for four, going on five decades. First inspired to become professional guitarists by surf-rock legends The Ventures, both Jeff Richman and Wayne Johnson are accomplished studio musicians who’ve been performing as an acoustic guitar duet for over 15 years. Recording together on their recent Miramar CD, they rekindle the spirit of “Apache” along with ten other guitar-based tracks. There’s even an extended version of “Apache” as the set closer. Recorded in L.A., Apache is a noteworthy and inspired album featuring an assortment of tastefully performed nylon, steel string and (the occasional) electric guitars. 


ssencia Do Brasil

Perhaps the only thing more beautiful than the sound of one or two classical guitars would be the sound of four well-played classical guitars, which is exactly what is at the center of the Delos Records debut CD from the Brazilian Guitar Quartet. Featuring brothers Edelton Gloeden and Everton Gloeden, Tadeu do Amaral (all Brazilian) and English-born and Brazilian-based eight-string classical guitar master Paul Galbraith, the ensemble refine the spirit of the Brazilian guitar sound on a wide ranging and sonically satisfying set of music by legendary guitar composers such as Heitor Villa-Lobos and Carlos Gomes. In addition to the masterfully performed and recorded music, the CD features extensive liner notes and detailed biographies of each member as well as the composers covered. One of the most accomplished classical guitar ensembles on the planet today, the BGQ offers long-time nylon string guitar fans and newcomers reason to celebrate with Essencia Do Brasil. 


Sometime Tuesday Morning

Following session work with singer Peter Wolf and Santana percussionist Mingo Lewis, Boston-based guitar ace Johnny A. steps out on his new and appealing album debut. Inspired by the retro ambience of ‘50s jazz and the high density guitar rock of the late, great Danny Gatton and guitar gods, The Hellecasters, the all-instrumental Sometime Tuesday Morning covers all the guitar bases, from jazz and blues to rock, country and surf as well. A. cites Chet Atkins and Jeff Beck as big inspirations, while other big influences are quite apparent on A.’s distinctive covers of “Wichita Lineman” (Jimmy Webb), “Yes It Is” (The Beatles), “You Don’t Love Me” (Willie Cobb) and “Walk Don’t Run” (Johnny Smith). Also featuring Ed Spargo (bass) and Craig Macintyre (drums), Johnny A.’s Sometime Tuesday Morning is a solid spin from start to finish.  or to order 800-448-6369 /  


Monsters And Robots

If the mere sight of Buckethead doesn’t cause you alarm than surely a dose of his new CD might have you scurrying for cover. Like Jimi Hendrix did in the ‘60s, Buckethead is on the way towards reinventing a scintillating new language for electric guitar in the new century. Assisting him are esteemed avant-gard heavyweights like Bill Laswell, Les Claypool, and Bootsy Collins. Although Cyberoctave is renowned for their sonically harmonious space music, Monsters And Robots is another kettle of fish entirely. Intense instrumental funk-rock-electronica, with several incidental vocals, Monsters And Robots is New Age music for heavy metal fans. 



It’s been well over 20 years ago since Sweden’s Samla changed their line-up and name to Zamla Mammaz Manna and eventually in the mid ‘80s to Von Zamla, but lo and behold now there’s a disc of new studio and live material from the original band. Imagine an electric rock group that effortlessly combines Swedish folk music with strange, often comical vocal interludes topped off by a lightening fast approach to instrumental European jazz-rock fusion and you may begin to understand where SMM is coming from. The interplay between Lars Hollmer (keyboards), Swedish guitar great Coste Apetrea, Lars Krantz (bass) and drumming ace Hans Bruniusson picks right up from where their mid ‘70s albums ended. Revered as innovators in the world of Scandinavian progressive rock and folk music for nearly 30 years, Samlas’ new one should prove to be a real treat for their long time fans.



A Map Of The World
(Warner Bros.)

Back in the ‘70s classical guitar master John Williams recorded a series of albums that paired his classical guitar with a symphony orchestra. In the same spirit, American guitar great Pat Metheny succeeds with a comparable project on his latest solo album. Subtitled Music From And Inspired By The Motion Picture, Map Of The World is the perfect sonic pallet for Metheny’s expansive acoustic guitar work. The Map movie was so inspirational for Metheny that he recalls, “I almost had the feeling that the story itself had written the piece, and that all I had to do was to try to translate into sound the things that were musically implied between the lines of this haunting journey through this special world.” Metheny’s expressive and ultra melodic acoustic steel string enhanced with the lush symphonic backdrop makes A Map Of The World one of the most sonically appealing soundtracks of late.


Watusi 99

The country of Finland lives up to it’s reputation as a bastion of superb guitar-based instrumental groups with the first U.S. release by The Hypnomen. In the spirit of the hard-hitting fuzz-tone guitar sounds of Davie Allan, The Hypnomen expertly blend ‘60s surf-rock ala The Ventures with a futuristic lounge groove inspired by early ‘60s albums from John Barry and late great producer Joe Meek. In keeping with the band’s reverence for all things ‘60s, there’s also a track called “Orson”, presumably a tribute to film legend Orson Welles, complete with snippets from “The Third Man Theme”. Instrumental guitar rock fans are strongly advised to check out Watusi 99. Keeping the spirit of instrumental rock alive and well, MuSick have also just released new CDs from Pollo Del Mar (The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea) and Fifty Foot Combo (Go Hunting). 



Liquid Gardens
(Yin Yang)

Subtitled Original Music For Fender Stratocaster And Gu Zheng (Chinese Harp), Liquid Gardens artfully blends a number of  instrumental styles, from New Age and Reggae to Asian-flavored pop and rock. Chen’s skillful touch on the Fender Strat echoes some of the spacier moments from guitar great Jimi Hendrix and, had Hendrix lived he no doubt would have appreciated the atmospheric sounding Liquid Gardens. The L.A.-based Levi Chen caught the ear of New Age guitar fans with his ‘97 CD Celtic Zen, although Liquid Gardens is his best yet. Multi-tracking himself on Stratocaster, Chinese harp, Chapman Stick, Coral Sitar, Tibetan bowl bells and chimes, Chen is assisted by Michael Masley (hammered dulcimer) and other fine musicians. Chen’s languid Stratocaster casts a marvelous musical spell indeed making Liquid Gardens one of the most tranquil sounding instrumental guitar albums of late ‘99. 


Astral Images

The brainchild of guitarist Ralph Oleski, the new AMAXIS CD employs a wealth of synthesized sounds and gives new significance to the term electric guitar. At times similar to Alan Holdsworth and Jan Akkerman, Oleski camouflages his ‘85 Strat guitar with a electronic devices like Roland synths, MIDI interface and Digitech equipment. Essential for New Age and fusion fans, the airy, accessible jazz/pop sound of Astral Images makes for an entertaining yet compelling spin. A self produced one man affair, the highly imaginative Astral Images finds Oleski performing everything from guitars and keyboards to drums and percussion. Influences like Jan Akkerman and Jan Hammer will help create a buzz for Oleski, a rising name on the instrumental guitar front. 

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




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