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winter 2007








(Open Door / UMG)

Rock guitar legend Peter Frampton walks through a new musical door with the 2006 release of Fingerprints. Commenting on the album release on A&M / New Door, Frampton claims, “I’ve never done a complete collection of instrumentals. This is something I’ve been needing to do for myself for a long time.” Although best known for his popular solo albums and groundbreaking rock work in Humble Pie, Frampton grew up listening to guitar icons like Elvis guitarist Scotty Moore, while paying even greater attention to U.K. guitar instrumental hero Hank B. Marvin. So it’s very cool that Fingerprints features Hank playing guitar with Frampton on a very tasty, Shadows inspired track here called “My Cup Of Tea”—a song co-written by Frampton, Hank, long time Shadows drummer Brian Bennett (who also appears here) and Fingerprints co-producer Gordon Kennedy. Incorporating the Shadows instrumental guitar sound his template, Frampton takes it one step further, adding in guests such as Stones’ rhythm section of Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman, pedal steel ace Paul Franklin, John Jorgenson, members of Pearl Jam and The Allman Brothers and more. From Shadows style cuts to Southern rock and arena rock to be-bop and gypsy jazz, Fingerprints has Frampton’s steadfast love of the guitar written all over it.



The Mystery
(Favored Nations)

One of the most skillful guitarists anywhere, Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel dazzles his fans in 2006 with the simultaneous release of a new CD—The Mystery and a live DVD entitled Live At Her Majesty’s Theatre, Ballarat, Australia. Over the years Emmanuel has recorded and played alongside guitar legends like Les Paul, Eric Clapton and Joe Walsh and he even recorded an album back in ‘97 with Chet Atkins called The Day The Finger Pickers Took Over The World. An album filled with his legendary acoustic guitar instrumental sound, The Mystery may be Emmanuel’s most rewarding album to date, with the guitarist adding, “I don’t usually listen to my own work; I tend to record something, and them move on. But I’ve been enjoying the album a lot, as it’s deeper and more special than anything I’ve ever done.” In addition to the classic Emmanuel instrumental sound, The Mystery also includes a vocal sung by Tommy and Elizabeth Watkins. The DVD, Live At Her Majesty’s Theatre highlights a November, 2005 performance recorded in 5.1 surround sound and filmed in widescreen with multiple cameras with Emmanuel discussing—in between songs—his life an music. Distilling folk, country and jazz sounds, both releases further establish Emmanuel among today’s guitar greats.



Super Colossal

Joe Satriani lives up to his guitar legacy on his 2006 CD Super Colossal. Rocking out with some top musicians, including fusion thumper legend Simon Phillips, Joe covers a staggering range of guitar instrumentals—from soaring pop anthems to more hard rocking elements of his sound. Describing the album from his lengthy track by track liner notes Joe adds, ‘All of it comes under the umbrella of rock & rock, but that’s a big umbrella.’ A fine example of Joe’s thought provoking approach to his melodic instrumental fusion comes on track five, “Ten Words,” which was written a day after 9/11 and which lay dormant till this album. Joe explains, ‘As I was preparing music for this album, I found it and played it, and it resonated with me. I had to record it.’ From surf-flecked nostalgia to hard rock fusion, Super Colossal has it covered.


Tommy Merry 3

Some guitar players are unabashed romantics. A great melody, some great kick-ass guitar tone and a hot rhythm section and you’re off. More hard rock and fusion instrumentals, Merry fleshes it out nicely on his 11 track 2006 CD. Commenting on the new TM3 album, Merry adds, “Why is this great? Because the project has signed on with World Class Engineer Tom Size (Joe Satriani, Racer X, Neal Schon, Y&T, Joe Pass, Mr. Big) for the final mixdown of the album.” There’s a solid Hank Marvin meets Joe Satriani vibe afoot here. With the help of a good sound man, Merry places the guitar way up front and the CD sounds great on repeat spins.


Swing State

Gigging around L.A. and teaching at Riverside Community College, guitarist Peter Curtis has a made a most appealing jazzy / fusion guitar CD that should find widespread appeal among guitarists and music lovers alike. The mostly original Swing State CD is enhanced by covers of Django’s “Nuages” and a funky take on the Stevie Wonder classic “I Wish.” There’s been an upswing in popularity of guitarists supported by B-3 or horn sections but Curtis has chosen to feature excellent vibraphone backing from Eldad Tarmu, with both backed by a hot rhythm section. A master of the fretboard, Curtis has been praised by guitar masters like Gene Bertoncini and Mike Stern, proving that—while he has a doctorate in classical guitar performance and literature and has performed in a variety of musical situations including rock, klezmer, classical and latin—Curtis comes alive in the jazz guitar quartet setting.


An Inconvenient Truth
(Big Helium)

Who better to provide the soundtrack for Al Gore’s spellbinder about pending ecological / environmental disaster than L.A.-based U.K. guitarist Michael Brook. Having worked with Brian Eno and a host of avant gard legends, Brook is in prime form here conjuring a sonic backdrop for Gore’s parable of planetary intrigue and dire forecasts for mother earth. The movie itself is Gore in prime form echoing a state of alarm on global warming that he’s be trying to convince people of since the ‘70s when he helped bring it to light. The Paramount DVD release of An Inconvenient Truth features widescreen, dolby digital sound, 5.1, subtitles and more and is essential viewing. Featuring Brook’s sinewy guitar leads and keyboard electronica, the soundtrack CD of An Inconvenient Truth is a sonic feast that is very much in the spirit of Brook’s minimalist ambient works with Eno yet stands alone as a musical work. For a glimpse into Brook’s solo music, check out the 2006 CD Rock Paper Scissors, pairing Brook’s guitars / keyboards with a number of players. /

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