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215 RECORDS - Montgomery, Davis, Nascimento, Jobim...these were the sounds that Sandro Albert heard while growing up in his native Brazil. That early ‘60s bossa nova groove mixes well with some modern guitar jazz on Albert’s 2005 CD, The Color Of Things. Exploring his nuevo bossa nova jazz, Albert also echoes ‘70s fusion guitar pioneers like Pat Metheny and France’s Jean Pierre Llabador. Masterful at combining a wide range of jazz, pop and Brazilian guitar styles, Albert was caught early on by jazz bassist Jimmy Haslip, who receives executive producer credits here, with another strong shout out going to album producer Tim Yalda. Topping off Albert’s fine acoustic and electric guitar instrumentals, The Color Of Things also features guest appearances by Brazilian percussionist Airto and guitarist Robben Ford.

- Canada is well known for bringing us the power rock trio sound of Rush but the country also spawned a wonderful, though unheralded instrumental art-rock group called Maneige, that seemingly vanished over twenty years ago. Now in 2005, a new Canadian group called 30YRSL8 have taken the more accessible power trio rock elements of Rush and merged it with the prog-rock stylings of the late, lamented Maneige. Add in a touch of Steve Morse & Dixie Dregs and 30YRSL8 comes up with a superbly textured instrumental fusion sound that’s all over the musical map at times. On the group’s 2005 Elemental CD, the electric guitars of Rob Rose and synth keyboards of Marc Bélanger work magic and are tastefully propelled by the tight rhythm section of Armand Vienneau (drums) and Mike Raymond (bass). Better 30 years late than never, 30YRSL8 makes a cutting edge instrumental rock statement with Elemental.

- Possibly the most knowledgeable Beatles expert, Bruce Spizer and his 498 Productions released two more huge coffee table size hardcover editions on two distinct aspect of Fab Four history. The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth Of Beatlemania In America chronicles a brilliant snapshot of just how The Beatles rode in on top of one of the biggest musical movements ever to occur in music history. Complete with over 450 key color and b&w shots, and 2003 forward by Walter Cronkite, Spizer’s 250 page book opens up with a look at the history of their times on Vee Jay and Swan Records, all of which miraculously lead to the birth of the greatest musical dynasty of the 20th century. Also out in 2004 on 498, The Beatles Solo On Apple Records is another brilliant expose by Spizer, this time a colorful and packed with pics 360 page hardcover expose detailing the solo releases on Apple Records by John, Paul, George & Ringo in the aftermath of the breakup and subsequent early years, having hit after hit release on the most influential indy label of all time. No doubt Spizer get around to another book on the other artists The Beatles signed to Apple and often produced themselves. email:

- Actually a number one in Germany back in 1974, Dan The Banjo Man was the idea of guitarist Phil Cordell. No banjos and no guy named Dan but Cordell recorded some surprisingly heavy guitar, self-produced instrumentals in the style of mid ‘70s Shadows with even more overdubbing and glam-rock style effects. You could almost describe it as if Marc Bolan or Gary Glitter (Roy Wood or McCartney too for that matter) had an instrumental Ventures style band. With some cool originals and instro covers, this 2005 Angel Air CD features eight bonus tracks in addition to the original eleven track album. Dan The Banjo Man is a instro rarity seeing release for the first time from guitarist Cordell, who is also featured on the Angel Air release of his early ‘70s pop vocal band Springwater, an album which featured a top 5 vocal hit by Cordell, “I Will Return”—a song that would be covered as an instrumental by The Shadows in 1985.

- Hailing from Sweden, Caesars sound influenced as much from Lennon & McCartney as they do from punk pioneers like 13th Floor Elevators and The Stooges. Released in 2005, Paper Tigers is actually the group’s fourth album and the band receives expert stewardship from their guitarist / producer Joakim Åhlund and lead singer Cesar Vidal. Musically the album rocks all over the map and should appeal to anyone who digs essential modern pop band’s like Coldplay and Flaming Lips. Caesars started out in 1998 with their album Youth Is Wasted On The Young, and if they continue to make albums as great as Paper Tigers, they’ve got a bright future ahead of them.

- Backbeat continues to release all sort of amazing hard cover and soft cover music related titles. Among their acclaimed 2004 / 2005 titles are 50 Years Of Gretsch Electrics, written by author Tony Bacon. In the past, Bacon has covered the history of the greatest guitars in his books, 50 Years Of Fender and 50 Years Of The Gibson Les Paul. Now, in his 2005 Backbeat edition on Gretsch electric guitars, Bacon explores the history of the guitar that made such a huge impact on The Beatles, Chet Atkins, Bo Diddley and Duane Eddy—all big names that made their mark with Gretsch Jets, Gents and White Falcons, Filled with numerous color spreads and a comprehensive specs section, 50 Years Of Gretsch Electrics is a sumptuous expose on some of the most beautiful electrics ever built. Also out on Backbeat in 2005 is The Art Of Inlay: Design & Technique For Fine Woodworking by Larry Robinson. Described as ‘without question the most complete technical and aesthetic book in the field’, The Art Of Inlay illustrates some of the most beautiful inlays in musical instruments and assorted objects d’art, with loads of information and over a hundred detailed color photos and drawings—all this and more by the inlay artist for U2, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac and more.

- All around nice guy and guitar maven, Colorado based Bard Hoff follows his first CD, Earthquake Weather with the release of and then she said... Musically Hoff is all over the map on the nine track instrumental CD. Hoff explains, “I get that comment at gigs too. I didn’t want to lock myself in. When I play live I am all over the place—any place from psychedelic sambas to bop, except we’ve been accused of warping that a little too far out too.” Commenting on the variety of influences that shaped his talent, Hoff add, “I grew up listening to Hendrix and having my mind totally screwed up by John McLaughlin. He does this Indian stuff, this Flamenco stuff and he does his chamber guitar quartets and then he puts out these ripping straight ahead albums and fusion albums. I thought, well, hell if he’s doing that, I might as well go ahead and do some of that too.” From hip, mellow jazz to fiery fusion, Bard has it covered on and then she said... which features a number of fine support players including his son, Devin Hoff, who plays bass with The Nels Cline Singers. Clear as a bell electric guitar playing and memorable tracks are a couple indicators of and then she said...which also features a mellow instrumental cover of the Beggar’s Banquet classic “No Expectations.” Email contact:

- Ranging from rustic roots rock to a more humid slack key instrumental guitar sound, Vancouver, Canada based Steve Dawson proves masterful at mixing guitar sounds, new and vintage on his 2005 CD. We Belong To The Gold Coast features fifteen track of acoustic guitars, keyboards and light percussion with several tracks featuring Dawson’s vocals, which remind of The Band’s Robbie Robertson. Guitar wise, Dawson excels on slide and lap steel guitar which masterfully merge at the crossroads of fingerstyle folk, Hawaiian, blues, pop and hip-hop. A cool deal for guitar fans and folk music enthusiasts, We Belong The Gold Coast follows Dawson’s 2001 set, Bug Parade.

- Filled with bone-crunching rock, blues and country, The Dragon is the third CD from Australian guitarist Simon Gardner. Gardner’s been at the forefront of the instrumental rock guitar scene in Australia and with The Dragon he’s poised to carry his message far and wide. Although Gardner cites classical influences like Holst and Debussy, his latest CD on his own Black Jonx label packs a wallop making it a good bet for fans of his big guitar influences like Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Johnson. With Gardner supplying all the music, guitar and bass, The Dragon also features a strong support crew of players.

- Mention the Johnny Smith song “Walk, Don’t Run” to guitar icon Les Paul and he’ll tell you some history, ““Walk Don’t Run”...right. He wrote that and he called me and said, ‘I’ve got a song for you’...okay? And he played it for me on the phone and I says, ‘Johnny’, I says, ‘I’ve already got one of them releasing.’ I says, ‘the sonofabitch is gonna take off.’ “Whispering”, you know? I says, ‘it’s so big-hit, it’s so strong. And I can’t walk on my own records because we got seven of the top ten.’ So I says, ‘I’m gonna pass on it.’ And The Ventures got it.” Back in the early ‘50s, Les may have truly been before his time passing on recording the song because as it turned out, most guitar instro fans know the Ventures 1960 version of “Walk, Don’t Run”. To complicate matters more, few have heard Johnny Smith’s original jazz version of his own song, the track kicks off his 2005 Blue Note reissue called Walk, Don’t Run! Commenting on his approach to the guitar in the liner notes Smith states, “I never considered myself a jazz player—just a guitar player who tried to supply what was missing.” The now historic May and September 1954 dates in NYC with Smith’s quartet that resulted in the legendary first recording of what turned out to be possibly the most popular instrumental rock song are well represented on Blue Note’s essential Walk, Don’t Run reissue.

- In the late ‘60s, NYC was a hot bed of great music. All sorts of underground things were happening at the major labels like Columbia and Atlantic as well as independents like Buddah who were releasing some great artists like Buzzy Linhardt. One way overlooked NYC based group was the neoclassical art rock sound of The New York Rock & Roll Ensemble. A great example of the young and bright East Coast pop sound of NYC circa ‘69-70, the group were well known for the fact that three of the original members—soon to become famous movie music icon, the late, great Michael Kamen, Marty Fulterman, and Dorian Rudnytsk—were Julliard trained and their “Picasso with amplifiers” style was well inflected throughout their self-titled 1968 debut on Atco/Cotillion, The New York Rock & Roll Ensemble. In combination with their classical rock influence—praised by Leonard Bernstein at the time—one can hear also traces of paisley pop sounds of The Zombies Odessey And Oracle and the pop-classical side of Al Kooper. Excellent production from Shadow Morton is noted, yet the mere arrival of this art-pop classic is a cause for celebration.

- Since 1990, guitarist / composer Bert Lams has been at the Vanguard of progressive acoustic guitar music as a member of the acclaimed California Guitar Trio. On his 2005 solo CD, Nascent: Bach Preludes On The Steel String Guitar Lams gets back to his classical guitar roots—specifically the music of J.S. Bach. According to Lams, “ at age seven, I heard the C major of the well-tempered clavier by J.S. Bach on harpsichord. I was drawn to the world of music at that moment and have been exploring this wondrous art form ever since.” Interestingly, Lams performs these time-honored Bach works on a steel string guitar with a pick adding, “I felt the desire to break new ground and transcribe several pieces that haven’t yet been played on guitar, let alone on steel string guitar with plectrum.” Bert’s mesmerizing guitar performance on Nascent is clearly up to the same levels he brings to his work with The California Guitar Trio. Bach’s violin and cello preludes have never sounded better than they do in Bert’s worthy hands.

- The Godfather of British blues, John Mayall returned with a fine blues rockin’ album in 2005. With Mayall at the helm on vocals, piano, electric piano, harmonica, guitar and synthesizer, Road Dogs features Mayall in fine form rocking out alongside Road Dogs' Bluesbreakers Joe Yuele (drums), Buddy Whittington (guitar), Hank Van Sickle (bass) and Tom Canning (organ / piano). This was the same line-up, along with Eric Clapton and Mick Taylor, that graced the stage for Mayall’s impressive 70th Birthday Concert CD & DVD (Eagle/2003). One of the tracks here, “Short Wave Radio” take you to the days of Mayall’s teenage years when the Big Maceo, Little Walter and Muddy Waters’ blues were already showing him where to go.

-Guitarist Kirk Bartholomew and keyboardist Marc Soucy of El Kapitan scored big with last years Retroscape CD and now they’ve dug back in the vaults for a 2005 CD reissue of the first El Kapitan album from 1999 entitled Haywire. Compared to the Pink Floyd prog-instro finesse of the Retroscape set, Haywire positively rocks up a storm with several intense Kraftwerk meets Gary Glitter sort of rock vocal tracks. Spotlighting Bartholomew’s scathing guitar riffs, El Kapitan keeps things interesting with compositional musical twists and turns that can be described as the instrumental rock version of shock and awe. Obviously each one a gifted player, these guys can do anything musically imaginable. The duo’s musical progression and recording improvements made a leap forward with 2004’s Retroscape, yet one can get a clear sense of El Kapitan’s initial enthusiasm and musical strengths on Haywire.

- On his 2005 solo album, guitarist Phi Yaan-Zek ponders the question: what if Zappa had written the music on Jeff Beck’s Blow By Blow or if Steve Vai had jammed with The Beatles in their most experimental, psychedelic moments? Actually guitar fans who dig masters like Jeff Beck and John McLaughlin as well as Shawn Lane and Steve Vai are encouraged to check out Phi’s third CD Solar Flare. Recording over in the U.K. Phi has enlisted top support from a number of gifted jazz-rockers, including Marco Minnemann (drums) and Fabio Trentini (bass) as well as ex-Gryphon bassoonist Brian Gulland. Much like Yaan-Zek’s electrifying music, the colorful CD booklet on Solar Flare is filled with fantastic graphics, session details and track by track notes from Phi. If you like your instrumental jazz rock taken to the extremes of the sonic universe, the guitar fusion sound of Phi Yaan-Zek may be perfect for you.

- Mixing elements of rock, jazz, blues and reggae into his fresh approach to instrumental music, guitarist Kenny Kilgore scores a hit with his 2005 CD Bluetopia. Released through Colorado-based Hapi-Skratch, the eleven track CD features Kilgore armed with his ‘68 Strat, backed by a tight group that echoes the spirit of guitar heroes like Clapton and also the soundtracks of Mark Knopfler. With four solo albums to his credit, Kilgore has earned a fine reputation as an opening act for the late Danny Gatton, Buddy Guy and B.B. King and he furthers his stance as a forerunner of instrumental guitar sounds with Bluetopia. /

- Echoing some of the jazzier, straight ahead sounds of Metheny, Holdsworth and McLaughlin, The John Hart Trio take a journey deep into guitarland on Indivisible. The eleven track CD was recorded in New Jersey in 2003, featuring Hart’s excellent guitar work driven by the rhythm section of Tim Horner (drums) and Bill Moring (bass). In his lengthy liner notes from 2004, Hart cites a number of influences on his playing and writing including Ahmad Jamal, Bill Evans and guitar icon Jim Hall. The mostly original set also features Hart’s jazz trio adaptation of the Duke Ellington classic, “A Single Petal Of A Rose.”

- Based in Birmingham, England, guitarist John Gerighty brings the classical guitar back into the limelight with a brilliantly recorded and performed CD from 2004 entitled Guitarra! Having studied at Trinity College of Music in London, Gerighty released several albums of his own music during the early 2000’s and with the release of Guitarra! he focuses on the classical guitar repertoires of legends like Christian G. Scheidler, Fernando Sor, Francisco Tarrega and more. From his intriguing liner notes, Gerighty adds, “Thirty years ago, the classical guitar was ‘all the rage’, and guitarists such as John Williams and Julian Bream were household names. These days, the guitar has slipped out of the limelight a little, and many people don’t really know anything of the beauty of this quiet, unobtrusive sounding instrument.” In a valiant endeavor to bring the classical guitar back into the limelight, Gerighty covers music from a wide range of composers—from Sor to Bach—on Guitarra!

- Flutist Mark Weinstein has impeccable credentials when it comes to merging Cuban Roots music and Latin jazz. On his 2004 CD on the NYC based Jazzhead label, Algo Más he showcases his contemporary flute improvisations and the electric guitar sound of Jean-Paul Bourelly and the Cuban folkloric drums and voices of Pedrito Martinez. Regarding the recording of Algo Más, Weinstein adds, “The date was completely unrehearsed without a note of music. Pedrito taught Jean-Paul the songs and we went for it.” Weinstein has worked with some top guitarists over the years and further commenting on working with guitarist Jean-Paul Bourelly, Weinstein adds, “The thing about JP is the breadth of his conception, the best time and amazing musicality. I have known him since he first came to NY.” Throughout the album Weinstein proves himself to be a flute master and his combination of flute, báta drums, bass, electric guitar makes for a jazzy, groove-based world beat album that’s both swinging and lyrical, spiritual and funky.

- Guitarist Michael Coppola made guitar lovers happy with his 2004 CD, Monster Guitar. In 2005 he follows up with his latest CD, the humorously titled On The Atkins Diet! This is one diet that won’t kill you as the fare is strictly musical and inspired no doubt by the late great Chet Atkins. According to Coppola, ‘An Atkins diet is not unlike what a Segovia diet would be to a classical guitarist; Chet was incredibly prolific, leaving a wide array of tunes and styles to choose from.’ Coppola has mastered Chet’s trademark Travis picking style and puts his incredible technique to great use on his covers of classics like “Caravan”, “I Got Rhythm”, “Sleepwalk”, “Classical Gas”, “Walk Don’t Run” and more including a fine cover of Jerry Reed’s “Jerry’s Breakdown.” On The Atkins Diet is a super mix of country, swing, gypsy and classical fingerstyle guitar sounds.

- Described as “A dynamic synthesis of organic grooves, improvisation and wild sonic soundscapes,” Naked Movies, by The Coalition finds guitarist Glenn Alexander playing alongside Scott Healy (keys) and Mike Merritt (bass), both of The Max Weinberg 7. Over the years, Alexander has earned his reputation by releasing first rate guitar instrumental records as well as recording and performing with top names like Dylan, Paul Simon, Phoebe Snow and he’s in rare form on this first album from The Coalition. Featuring track titles like “Tuna Whiskey” and “Beatnik Bob”, the Coaltion’s ‘sonically ambitious’ blend of jazz, improvisation, rock, R&B, funk and avant gard sounds is right on the cutting edge of modern instrumental music.

- Based over in Italy, OmOm Music have been releasing some great tribute albums including their great double disc tributes American Graffiti Revisited, That's New Pussycat! A surf tribute to Burt Bacharach and one of their recent 2005 releases, a tribute to Biker / Surf rock king Davie Allan called Evil Fuzz. Now the label reaches another milestone with their 2005 release of Hair - A Surf Tribal Love-Rock Musical. With fantastic music written by Galt McDermott, Hair spawned a number of classic pop melodies such as the title track, “Aquarius” and “Good Morning Starshine.” For their rockin’ Hair tribute, OmOm have assembled some of today’s top guitar instrumental groups to perform on this mostly instrumental 24 track CD. Kicking off the The Atlantics serving up a surf-rock treatment of “Aquarius,” the CD moves on with fine performances from notable groups like The Weisstronauts, The Atomic Mosquitoes, Urban Surf Kings, Seks Bomba and much more. A cool deal for surf-rock fans and those who enjoyed all the great music of Hair, OmOm’s surf-musical version of Hair also features some way-cool psychedelic ‘60s cover art!

- Derived from the live in the studio DVD concert film of the same name, the CD release of Overtime finds jazz guitar legend Lee Ritenour in the company of artists he’s worked so well with over the years. Kicking off with a Ritenour cover of the Wes Montgomery classic “Boss City”, Overtime features a top performance from Ritenour as well as players like Dave Grusin and Patrice Rushen (Fender Rhodes), Harvey Mason (drums), Chris Botti (trumpet) and vocalist Kenya Hathaway, who tears it up on the Overtime cover of “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.” Commenting on reuniting with some of his legendary accomplices, Ritenour adds, “We haven’t played some of these songs for 25 years, so we were overdue.” A watershed moment of Ritenour’s guitar career, Overtime spotlights a fine mix of Brazilian music, acoustic jazz and fusion and is a masterful live in the studio set from one of the founders of the smooth guitar jazz genre. In addition to the CD on Peak / Concord Records, Overtime is also available on DVD from Eagle Rock Entertainment.

-Classical guitarist Marc Friedlander has played before thousands of people out on the street in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. Commenting further he adds, “Out on the street, I use an electric/classical and a little portable amp. I love it out there, and the people sit on the steps and listen. Others ebb and flow past me in and out of the museum.” A master of the nylon string classical guitar, Freidlander has no doubt entertained many guitar fans for free and he makes the most of his deft fretboard skills on his albums Classical Guitar, of which he’s recorded three volumes. On Classical Guitar Volume II, Friedlander offers sublime version of the six part “Suite For Cello #3” by J.S. Bach, in addition to various classical masterpieces by S.L. Weiss (“Passacaille”,) Albeniz (“Granada”) and more.

Instrumental guitar music that borders on both minimalist and progressive, Riding Shotgun possess a rare quality that captures the place where rock and art meet. Based in Boston and Rhode Island, the group break all the rules and that’s just what makes their guitar driven trance so appealing. Essentially a power trio fueled by the cool rhythm section of drummer Chris Anton and Tom Stepsis (bass), the group’s center piece is the multi-faceted guitar sound of Joseph DePasquale. Other influences like Adrian Belew in King Crimson, Weather Report (without the sax) and say, Tortoise, come shining through. With its myriad of musical complexity, the music on NIGHT Falls makes a great imaginary soundtrack.

- In addition to making some of the best top 40 hits of the ‘60s, Paul Revere & The Raiders were also among the sharpest dressed bands of that magical decade that pop fans still can’t seem to get enough about. Although many of their albums and singles are well documented on various CD reissues on both Sundazed and Sony Legacy, Australian reissue giant Raven Records has done a splendid job on their 2005 Raiders compilation entitled: Kicks! 1963-1972 The Anthology. Kicking off with the group’s first charting single from 1963, “Louie, Louie”, Raven’s 30 track, 77+ minute Raiders compilation compiles tracks from a wealth of studio albums including their early classics Just Like Us! (1965), Midnight Ride (1966), Spirit Of ‘67 (1966), Revolution (1967) and much more. In addition to featuring the group’s all-time biggest hits like “Kicks”, “Just Like Me” and “Hungry”, Kicks! 1963-1972 adds in lesser known, yet equally compelling cuts written by Raiders’ producer Terry Melcher and group members Mark Lindsay, Paul Revere, Drake Levin and Phil “Fang” Volk. Splendid cover art and 12 pages of in depth liner notes by Raven Records musicologist Ian McFarlane make Kicks! 1963-1972 an essential Paul Revere & The Raiders compilation.

- A 29 track, two DVD set featuring two new songs, some of the greatest classic FM radio hits of all time and behind the scenes bonus footage, Farewell 1 Tour - Live From Melbourne captures a three hour concert with The Eagles from November 2004. The core lineup of Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit, Farewell 1 proves that not only have their songs withstood the test of time, but as entertainers and musicians, The Eagles are still held in high regard all over the world. The first Eagles DVD, a 1994 concert video called Hell Freezes Over remains the best-selling music video release of all time (eight-times platinum) and with the 2005 release of Farewell 1 Tour - Live From Melbourne, the group shows no signs of giving up their reputation of America’s greatest country-rock group. Long time fans can catch the band on their current world tour, which picks up again in August stretching into October 2005.

- Gadget guitarist Adrian Belew ‘guits’ back to where he twice belonged on his 2005 Sanctuary Records CD release of Side Two, which follows last years release of Side One. Concerning his approach here Belew adds, “For this record the idea has been terse haiku-like lyrics,” while he promises a final album in the series, Side Three where he “returns to the more eclectic approach of previous solo efforts including surprise guests.” Belew handles all the instruments on Side Two, conjuring indescribable sounds and all things programmed electronica save for the occasional guest spot on balalaika, theremin, cello or whispering voice. In this wild mix you can marvel at Belew’s incredible fretboard and otherwise electrifying guitar work, stirring the pot with an indescribable mix of trance and dance art-rock and World Beat pop in its place. Belew’s paintings on the cover art portray a musician bursting with artistic freedom in an ever increasing world of constriction.

- Having played with everybody from The Dead, Jorma Kaukonen, Steve Winwood and Bonnie Raitt over the past 25 years, Steve Kimock released his 2005 studio album, Eudemonic, on the SCI-Fidelity label. The label was founded by String Cheese Incident and the progressive instrumental jazz rock sound of Kimock and company is a refreshing addition to their roster. Assisted by fine players including drummer Rodney Holmes, Kimock proves masterful in a number of electric guitar settings. Kimock and Holmes weave a fine balance between earthy, almost funky fusion and the spatial vibe of the String Cheese sound while also echoing the spirit of Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, who would have loved Kimock’s album. Hailed by Jerry Garcia as his favorite unknown guitarist more than 15 years ago, Kimock has admitted being influenced by a variety of guitar styles—from blues to folk, jazz to Indian, African to psychedelic rock—and he puts them all in play on the wildly entertaining Eudemonic.

- A fine guitar instrumental album brimming with all kind of diverse solo guitar styles, Crossroads Of Solitude from California-based Shiro Tomita makes a good case for the guitar as the ultimate translator of musical genres. Highlights of this 12 track CD feature solo sonic electric guitar instrumentals of classics like “Hotel California,” “Dust In The Wind,” “Needle And The Damage Done,” and “California Dreamin’”, while others offer excellent classical rock covers of “Concerto de Aranjuez” and “Lagrima”. As Tomita aptly depicts—whether playing instrumental rock standards or classical favorites from centuries past, the venerable guitar—both electric and classical—just can’t be beat!

- Back in the ‘60s Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass offered an amazing cross section of instrumental pop fused with a Latin and Mexican music edge that was years ahead of it’s time. Early in 2005, Alpert teamed with the reissue masters at L.A.-based Shout! Factory to create The Herb Alpert Signature Series. Alpert’s first album with the Tijuana Brass was his 1962 album, The Lonely Bull, followed by South Of The Border and his all time most popular album from 1965, Whipped Cream & Other Delights, an album which maintained it’s number one status for eight weeks straight. Shout! Factory’s Herb Alpert signature series features excellent remastered CD reissues of nine of Alpert’s instrumental albums from the ‘60s, all featuring eye-catching digi-pak design and 20+ page booklets that serve as a history lesson on Alpert’s chart-topping instrumental pop sound. The latest 2005 Alpert remasters on Shout! Factory include three later period Tijuana Brass releases the prodigious trumpet master recorded and released in 1967 alone—the brilliant, instro, orch-pop Sounds Like (number one in Billboard before Sgt. Pepper’s knocked it out), Herb Alpert’s Ninth (with a cover of “With A Little Help From My Friends”) and his fifth and final number one album, Beat Of The Brass (released early ‘68). Herb Alpert went on to sell over 75 million records, start A&M Records and since then, he’s released over 30 albums as a solo artist. Shout! Factory shines a light on Alpert’s early vital contributions to the music biz with The Herb Alpert Signature Series.

- The 2005 CD release of Little Fugitive, by singer-songwriter and guitarist Amy Rigby is a fine reintroduction to one of the most gifted pop artists of the day. Backed up by a key band with co-producer / guitarist Jon Graboff and Smithereens’ drummer Dennis Diken, Rigby deftly combines intelligent, lyrics-based folk music sounds with a ‘60s paisley pop groove. Little Fugitive features a gutsy, clever Top 40 sound filled with toe-tapping melodies and colorful arrangements.

- Guitarist Steve Glotzer has it covered on his 2004 album, Lately... One minute, he’s doing his best Paul Simon semblance on one of the album’s four vocals. The next he’s got a upbeat smooth jazz sound going on the CD’s nine instrumentals. Described as “a folk/jazz melange featuring breezy sambas, jazz influenced sophisticated urban blues, and compelling folk/rock songs”, the thirteen track Lately... makes for some breezy, easy going guitar sounds and should go far to introduce Glotzer to a wider audience.

- Solid Air Records won a Grammy award for their Henry Mancini instrumental guitar tribute CD, Pink Guitar. Produced by James Jensen, the CD featured a number of great Mancini covers by gifted acoustic guitarists such as Ed Gerhard, Doug Smith, Wayne Johnson and Al Petteway. Another guitarist featured was Lawrence Juber, who’s cover of “Pink Panther Theme” kicked off the 13 track set. Juber, of course was Paul McCartney’s guitarist of choice on several Wings albums including his ‘79 set Back To The Egg. 25+ years later Juber returns with a new tribute to his old band entitled One Wing. Solo acoustic guitar arrangements of classic Wings songs, the CD features a bounty of guitar-centric instrumentals that were just as often remembered for Paul’s voice. Transcribing them for instrumental acoustic guitar, Juber makes the most of his keen insight into Macca’s musical mind and right down the line, he keeps the melody deeply woven into the guitar fabric. Juber has recorded numerous solo guitar albums for Solid Air—including his Beatles tribute, LJ Plays The Beatles—and One Wing carries on his ingenious ability to transcribe classic rock for nylon and steel acoustic guitar.

- Back in the ‘60s, singer-songwriter Johnny Rivers made huge breakthroughs with his big hit “Secret Agent Man” and ballads like “Poor Side Of Town.” Rivers’ own Soul City Records is still active and have reissued several key Rivers CD titles including his 1968 Imperial Records album classic Realization, and a pair of recent titles—Back At The Whisky Live and Johnny’s latest studio album from 2004, Reinvention Highway. Featuring Rivers live in L.A. 1999 w/ guitarist Waddy Wachtel and keyboardist Larry Knectel, Back At The Whisky is a timely follow up to his 1964 album Johnny Rivers Live AT The Whisky A Go Go with up to date versions of “Secret Agent Man”, “Baby I Need Your Lovin” and a Rivers cover of the Blind Faith classic “Can’t Find My Way Home.” The 2004 Soul City CD release of Reinvention Highway kicks off with “Midnight Special” and features a number of Rivers classics and covers of the Beatles-related chestnuts “I’ll Be Back” and McCartney’s “Every Night” and the ‘60s Byrds classic “Feel A Whole Lot Better.” Featuring Rivers on guitar backed by key players like Waddy Wachtel, Chris Hillman and Terry Reid, the fourteen track Reinvention Highway is dedicated to both George Harrison and Andy Rooney. All three CDs combine for an inspiring overview of a leading musical figure from the ‘60s.

- Universal continues to plow through their vaults for their acclaimed Gold series. Among the 2004-2005 Gold titles released are Traffic Gold (a double CD 30 tracks spanning 1967-1974), Velvet Underground Gold (a 30 track double CD), Rod Stewart Gold (35 track double CD) and Joan Armatrading Gold (43 track double CD set). Another valuable Universal Gold set released on their Hip-O Records imprint in 2005, Classic Rock Gold compiles an array of 33 FM radio classics from rock legends like Steppenwolf (“Born To Be Wild”), Santana (“Evil Ways”), Guess Who (“American Woman”), Jethro Tull (“Locomotive Breath”) and Peter Frampton (“Show Me The Way”) here along with a variety of smashes from The Hollies, Elton John, Cheap Trick, The Doobie Brothers, The James Gang, Foghat, Grand Funk, Billy Idol, Foreigner, Free, Bad Company and more topped off by noteworthy liner notes by rock historian Dave Thompson. /

- On Romanza, Connecticut-based guitarist Ron Murray takes his classical / Flamenco training to the next level, injecting his guitar sound with echoes of heroes like Paco de Lucia, Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass. In fact, Murray in the past studied with both classical master John Williams and Paco Peña. Backed by a crew of fine players including Arti Dixson (drums) and Marty Ballou (bass), Murray also underscores his fascination with the jazz samba and Brazilian Bossa Nova sound on his Jobim covers of “Corcovado” and “Vivo Sonhando”. Further Flamenco / bossa guitar style covers of Django’s “Nuages”, “Besame Mucho”, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and Henry Mancini’s “Charade” are interspersed with several Murray originals. Capped off with illuminating liner notes by Murray (who also credits his Dad’s harmonica on the Jobim covers), Romanza is a fleet-fingered CD that demonstrates the elegance and passion of the nylon string guitar.

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



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