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Old 11-24-2012, 05:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Best jazz guitarists

Considering we have a "best blues guitarists" thread, and I haven't seen one for jazz guitarists, I thought I'd make one.

So who are some of your picks for best jazz guitarist?

I'll name a few of my favorites...

Django, of course. Charlie Christian, T-bone Walker (who could also be considered the first electric blues guitarist), John McLaughlin and Les Paul.

Your turn.
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I've been passed a John Schofield album recently to check out. Tribal Tech with Scott Henderson and John McLaughlin are also on my list. I hope to add John Schofield a little later if it's to my taste.

Does Allan Holdsworth count as Jazz?
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think "best" is not a good angle to approach guitarists or any other musicians. To quantify all the things that makes musicians great and rank them on some phony scale is just not something I generally do. I'm more fond of "favorite" than I am of best, but all that aside ..

First off is an obvious mention perhaps, but you can't go wrong with the guitar trio - Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco De Lucia. Paco is generally described as a flamenco guitarist, but some of the music he's played is regarded as flamenco jazz. My favorite of the bunch is Al Di Meola. Everything about the way he plays is brilliant, I think.

For gypsy jazz, you'd have to mention Django, of course, but my favorite gypsy jazz guitarist is Jimmy Rosenberg who is just a ferocious player. In other jazz genres, I'd also like to mention Bill Frisell whose more ambient sounds I very much like and, although he's relatively unknown, I quite like the very much unique style of english jazz guitarist Phil Miller - for reasons that I sometimes wonder about. He played these squeaky melodies, but I always thought they sounded absolutely great in their musical context. He also was great with chords.

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Does Allan Holdsworth count as Jazz?
Even if he's definitely in a style of his own, I think Allan Holdsworth counts as he's generally known as a jazz fusion guitarist. His presence really gave a lift to some records back in the 70s, like Soft Machine's Bundles, Gong's Gazeuse! and Jean-Luc Ponty's Enigmatic Ocean. Great player indeed!
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Cheers tore. I've just found a Soft Machine album in my collection 'The Harvest Years' and will be giving it a go later today along with a few other bits.

I'm currently looking at my CDs on the desk and I've pulled Mahavishnu Orchestra 'the inner mounting flame' and 'lost trident sessions'.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Regarding Soft Machine's The Harvest Years, that is a compilation mostly comprised of the albums Bundles and Softs. These are so late in the discography and so late in the band history that the glory days are generally thought of as past and the only original member that can still be found on some of the songs is Mike Ratledge who at the time, I believe, hated being in the band.

I'm not so familiar with the songs from Softs, but the ones from Bundles are generally a brighter spot in the late SM discography. But people who are seriously curious about the band should definitely check out their earlier stuff. Their first two records are wildly different in style, featuring singers (Robert Wyatt & Kevin Ayers), but then they changed to a more fusiony style with their well-known Third and then became even more jazzy with Fourth. Their debut is interesting, but I'm most fond of their second, third and fourth albums which are all quite distinct from eachother. But, of course, none of those feature Allan Holdsworth.
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Now you've got me all fired up with curious thoughts about Soft Machine. I'm going to have to go back and hunt down all albums.

Thanks for the brief lowdown on the band. I always appreciate a good response.

I see what you mean by the 'Harvest Years' comp. It's right at the end of their body of work. Looking at the Wiki page of their discography, I've got seven albums of material worth checking out. Whoop!

Looks like I might be pulling a late one hunting down some of these albums for a spin. I think I'm going to tackle their full albums working through from the first release.
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderhammer View Post
Now you've got me all fired up with curious thoughts about Soft Machine. I'm going to have to go back and hunt down all albums.

Thanks for the brief lowdown on the band. I always appreciate a good response.

I see what you mean by the 'Harvest Years' comp. It's right at the end of their body of work. Looking at the Wiki page of their discography, I've got seven albums of material worth checking out. Whoop!

Looks like I might be pulling a late one hunting down some of these albums for a spin. I think I'm going to tackle their full albums working through from the first release.
I like them a lot, but they are rather avantgarde and definitely not for everyone! If you do like what you hear, they could be a good entry into the Canterbury scene which is a treasure trove of musical delights with my favourite of the bunch being the band Hatfield and the North which includes guitarist Phil Miller which I mentioned up there.

Allan Holdsworth also has Canterbury connections through the bands Gong and Bruford
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
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As much as I love jazz, I am tragically ignorant about jazz guitar of any variety. I love Django, but that's about as far as I've gotten.
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
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As much as I love jazz, I am tragically ignorant about jazz guitar of any variety. I love Django, but that's about as far as I've gotten.
I think anyone who like Django and who has perhaps particular interest in guitar chops should check out Jimmy Rosenberg. He's quite the virtuoso.

Here's some footage from when he was a kid

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Old 11-25-2012, 10:13 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tore View Post
I think "best" is not a good angle to approach guitarists or any other musicians. To quantify all the things that makes musicians great and rank them on some phony scale is just not something I generally do. I'm more fond of "favorite" than I am of best, but all that aside ..

First off is an obvious mention perhaps, but you can't go wrong with the guitar trio - Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco De Lucia. Paco is generally described as a flamenco guitarist, but some of the music he's played is regarded as flamenco jazz. My favorite of the bunch is Al Di Meola. Everything about the way he plays is brilliant, I think.

For gypsy jazz, you'd have to mention Django, of course, but my favorite gypsy jazz guitarist is Jimmy Rosenberg who is just a ferocious player. In other jazz genres, I'd also like to mention Bill Frisell whose more ambient sounds I very much like and, although he's relatively unknown, I quite like the very much unique style of english jazz guitarist Phil Miller - for reasons that I sometimes wonder about. He played these squeaky melodies, but I always thought they sounded absolutely great in their musical context. He also was great with chords.



Even if he's definitely in a style of his own, I think Allan Holdsworth counts as he's generally known as a jazz fusion guitarist. His presence really gave a lift to some records back in the 70s, like Soft Machine's Bundles, Gong's Gazeuse! and Jean-Luc Ponty's Enigmatic Ocean. Great player indeed!

We'll of course, tore. I only made the title with the word "best" in order to make it a little more eye-grabbing. And I said that my picks were some of my "favorites", not some of the "best".

Glad to see McLaughlin, Lucia and meola get a mention. I just love what that three did together.

I'll add Wes Montgomery, what I've heard from him Is pretty.
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