Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Best Guitar Cds of the Week - Week of 10/11/11

Skeletonwitch - Forever Abomination
   I'm enjoying the new batch of bands that has been tagged with the "thrash revival" moniker. Like any genre of music,some of these bands are more creative than others. Skeletonwitch is one of the bands who aren't satisfied with a watered down copy of classic thrash. Influences from black,death,Viking and NWOBHM are woven into their music. Many fans aren't quite sure what genre to put Skeletonwitch in and to me,that's part of their appeal. Ignoring the progressive tendencies of some classic thrash, they craft short,tightly arranged songs that feel more raw and punk inspired than some metal fans might be used to.They manage to pack in lots of ideas,keeping songs interesting and attention grabbing throughout. The vocals are especially modern
sounding and might draw in a few fans that don't listen to older metal. The production and engineering,by Matt Hyde (Monster Magnet,Slayer) fits the music nicely,not adding too much modern gloss to the feel while keeping things realistic and live sounding. If you're already a fan,you'll find plenty to enjoy here. They seem like a band that will give you enough of what you expect,while changing things up enough to keep you interested. If you haven't checked them out yet,I can recommend them to both the older metal fan that wants to hear some music "like they used to" and to the younger fan that likes some diversity of style. I can also tell you,they just came through town in September and their live show is not to be missed!




Pat Martino - Undeniable
   Finally,some new Pat Martino! It's been too long a wait since Remember: A Tribute to Wes Montgomery  in 2006. This is a live recording,with saxophonist Eric Alexander,organist Tony Monaco and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts.Longtime Martino fans will already know,Pat's early career had plenty of organ and sax interaction in the bands of both Willis Jackson and Jack McDuff. Organ and guitar are always a magic combo and Martino always shines in that context. I'm also a big fan of Tony Monaco and recommend searching out his albums also.
Bonus mini-rant: Hey,George Benson! If you name your album "Guitar Man",THIS is what it should sound like,NOT a couple of good guitar bits interspersed with smooth jazz pablum. You and Martino share the same organ jazz background,even holding the same chair in Jack McDuff's band. I think you are capable of an album like this.Please,stop coasting and prove me right.





Buddy Whittington - Six String Svengali
   You called your album Six String Svengali? Who do you think you are,John Mayall's guitar player or something? Wait...what? Oh... Yes,Buddy Whittington is good enough to live up to his ballsy album title.




John McLaughlin - Marbles
   I highly recommend this Cd...kind of. It is actually a repackaging of his 1970 album Devotion, featuring John in full on Hendrix inspired fusion mode. Skip it if you already have the album but with the domestic Cd out of print,don't miss this essential music, despite the needless title change.




Rocket From The Tombs - Barfly
   At this late date,you either know who these guys are or you don't, so I'll keep it brief. Although not a reunion in the traditional sense,it features the one/two punch of guitarists Cheetah Chrome (Dead Boys) and Richard Lloyd (Television). Brilliant,vital stuff from difficult to categorize,creative musicians.



Bill Laswell, Raoul Bjorkenheim, Morgan Argen - Blixt
   Brilliant power trio with more rock tones than one usually finds in a noise/jazz/fusion context. Always listenable even at it's noisiest,this blends Miles/Mahavishnu fusion with Cream/Hendrix rock to exciting effect.Guitarist Bjorkenheim is now on my list of guitar players I need to pay more attention to!



Joe Cohn - Fuego
   Classic jazz that blends up a nice mix of swing,bebop and post-bop. Although they do take on Love For Sale, they tend to focus less on worn out standards and more on tunes by guys like Thad Jones,Johnny Griffin,Jackie McLean and Al Cohn (who just happens to be his father).I definitely want to here more from Joe Cohn!





There are some sweet imports from Impulse records 2-on-1 series this week and two of them are of particular interest to guitar fans:

Chico Hamilton - El Chico/The Further Adventures of El Chico
  The discography of Chico Hamilton features lots of good guitar and the treat for guitar fans on this twofer set of 1966 albums is Gabor Szabo! Tasty stuff.




Howard Roberts - Antelope Trail/Equinox Express Elevator
  Studio guitar legend,Guitar Institute of Technology founder and Phoenix,Arizona native Howard Roberts is in his usual fine form on these 1970's albums. I think this might be the first time these are on Cd! With clean copies difficult to find on vinyl,this reissue is welcome indeed.



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