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/ OCTOBER 2003









Following in the footsteps of his last two CDs—Who Else! (1999) and You Had It Coming (2001)—guitar great Jeff Beck released his 14th album, Jeff during summer of 2003. Produced by Andy Wright and recorded in London, Jeff covers a wide range of cutting edge guitar sounds—from electronica and blues to Bulgarian folk melodies and collaborations with Liverpool electronic trio Apollo 440, Splattercell guitarist David Torn and remix master Mike Barbiero. Beck—along with guitarists Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page—made his mark as the lead guitarist with The Yardbirds, although the sound of Jeff is about as far from the catchy ‘60s U.K. pop R&B sound of The Yardbirds as you can get. Describing the hard-hitting heavy jazz instrumental sound of Jeff, the guitarist adds, “I play guitar, but that’s rarely my starting point. I play the way I do because it allows me to come up with the sickest sounds possible. That’s the point now isn’t it? I don’t care about the rules. In fact, if I don’t break the rules at least 10 times in every song then I’m not doing my job properly.” Also featuring contributions from top players like Dean Garcia, Tony Hymas, Steve Barney and The London Session Orchestra, Jeff, is quite possibly his most fiery and outrageous album yet.




Having sold over a million albums worldwide, Jesse Cook returns with his latest foray into the realm of World-beat flamenco guitar. Recorded on three different continents with guest artists from five different continents, Nomad is an exotic and eclectic guitar-based foray into futuristic World music that is described by Cook as “the points of musical intersection between cultures of the world.”. A mixture of flamenco, Gypsy, Arabic, Brazilian and American roots music, Nomad is also infused with a vibrant rock energy thanks to contributions from roots rockers The BoDeans and singer Danny Wilde of The Rembrandts. Superbly produced by Simon Emmerson, Nomad also features contributions from legendary Brazilian singer Flora Purim. One of the rising stars on the current nouveau Flamenco guitar scene with technique to burn, Cook further explains, “Some of my earliest musical memories were of flamenco, and the music kept coming back to me throughout my 17 years of music schooling. For me, it’s more passionate and visceral than any other genre, it never needs to be explained.” Released in 2003 on Narada World, Nomad follows the release of previous Cook guitar classics including, Freefall, Tempest, Vertigo and Gravity.



El Diablo Suelto
(Sony Classical)

Featuring a rich tapestry of classical guitar stylings, the 2003 CD from guitar great John Williams taps into the deep history of Venezuelan folk music. The 26 track El Diablo Suelto examines the cross-cultural musical influence that both Spain and Africa made upon Venezuelan music. According to Williams, “The music of Venezuela is a vibrant mixture of three cultures: the indigenous Indians, the Spanish who invaded them and the Africans who were first brought to Venezuela by the Spanish as slaves, but who also continued to arrive from other parts of the Caribbean until the 1950’s.” With his legendary classical guitar skills in peak form, Williams pays homage to a number of Venezuelan composers including music legend Alirio Diaz, with Williams further adding, “having first met Alirio Diaz when I was a boy of 12, I remember now, 50 years later, with humility and affection, how much I have learnt from him and just what an inspiration he has been to me in my love of Venezuelan music.” For decades now, John Williams has connected his extensive classical guitar knowledge and technique to a wealth of music—from revered traditional classical guitar to indigenous World-beat folk, pop and even guitar-based instrumental rock. Following up his critically acclaimed 2001 African-flavored CD, The Magic Box, Williams continues bridging musical realms with unparalleled ease with the solo classical guitar sounds of El Diablo Suelto.


Supersonic Guitars In 3-D

A band that’s done more than their fair share to keep the spirit of instrumental rock and roll alive and well, Los Straitjackets return in 2003 with a new studio album produced by veteran knob twirler Mark Neill. According to Neill, “the songs had to sound like they were thought up in a cave, a subterranean hole where crazy people could play crazy music, then I’d bring it back. Everything on this album is very weird, with very radial-sounding acoustics on it.” Started by guitarists Danny Amis (a founding member of late ‘70s surf-rock icons The Raybeats) and Eddie Angel back in the mid ‘90s, Los Straitjackets have made some great albums since then and they’ve also been featured on various soundtracks and TV shows as well. It seems like their novel and outlandish approach to vintage guitar rock is catching on with the masses and their new CD on YepRoc, S.S.G.i.3-D is possibly their best yet. Neill’s meticulous recording techniques really captures the creative essence of the band. Amis and Angel receive invaluable support from Pete Curry (bass) and Jimmy Lester (drums). Reviving and reveling in the greatness of ‘60s favorites like the Ventures, Shadows and Link Wray, Los Straitjackets bring it all back home with S.S.G.i.3-D. In order to better view the colorful 3-D packaging and artwork, the CD even includes a pair of 3-D sunglasses. /



Still riding high with their dramatic approach to guitar-based, rock-soundtrack instrumentals, Alien Cowboys return in 2003 with Lift. Perhaps the quartet’s definitive statement on CD to date, the eleven track instrumental album mixes inspired originals with well chosen rock instro covers of The Beatles (“Hey Bulldog”), Hendrix (“Spanish Castle Magic”) and legendary U.K. producer Joe Meek (“Telstar”). Armed with a fresh batch of rocked-out guitar-based instrumentals, Alien Cowboys assemble a winning combination on Lift. The first edition of the CD features a bonus DVD video of the lead-off track “Escape From ONLYON”. Aided by producer / engineer Bill Drescher, guitarists Ralph Perucci (lead guitar), Bruce Stevenson (rhythm guitar), Greg Jones (bass) and Ian Thomson (drums) keep the Alien Cowboys flag flying high with Lift.


Get On With It

Back in the early and mid ‘60s—a few years before the advent of jazz-rock and all the serious vibes that went along with it—guitarists often made instrumental music for fun. The ‘60s was also the time when the pop-based surf-rock instrumental sound of groups like The Ventures and The Shadows and guitarists such as Duane Eddy were extremely popular all around the planet. Thanks to the reemergence of ‘60s flavored guitar instrumentals during the ‘90s, many guitarists returned to the trend of composing melodies that—while not overtly simplistic—offered the listener a chance to easily connect and even hum along with the tune. One such guitarist putting the fun back into guitar instrumental music again is Indiana-based guitarist Bryon Thompson who released his third CD Get On With It in 2003. Performing all the instruments himself, Thompson demonstrates his unique grasp of the guitar instrumental genre on the nine track CD. Get On With It proves that often the best music features melodies and arrangements that linger long after the song is over.

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

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