Monday, November 28, 2011

Jonathan Kreisberg's Trioing gets a well deserved reissue.

  Jazz fans,this has been a great year for new albums but it's pretty slim pickings this week. I wanted to make sure this reissue didn't slip through the cracks while you weren't paying attention. Guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg,who deservedly has a reputation for his own compositions,on Trioing takes on some standards in the classic trio style. Some,like I Fall in Love To Easily or Old Devil Moon are timeworn tunes given fresh life. Others,like Sorcerer or Ugly Beauty are less often played,perhaps because they are not easy to play convincingly. In either case,these now decade old recordings still sound both modern and timeless.Originally released in 2002,it showcases three musicians who have have gone on to be leaders at their respective instruments. Bassist Johaness Weidenmueller sounds relaxed and tuneful on even the most complex stuff. Drummer Ari Hoenig has released several of his own albums and you can find Kreisberg on a few. You can check out my review of his Live at Smalls album here where I also manage to misspell his name as Arni. Sorry.

Here's a different version of the trio (with Matt Brewer and Mark Ferber) doing Ugly Beauty:

...and here's some more recent (2008) stuff in a quintet setting:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Big John Robert's awesome swag collection - PART ONE

Here's John with guitar department manager Patrick Schwab
   This is my friend John Roberts. If you happen to work at the same shop I do,you might know him as a guitar player and fellow music fanatic. If you happen to be a rock star,you might know "Big John" as part of your road crew. He was kind enough to bring a part (just a part!) of his extensive collection of memorabilia from his impressive career.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Do NOT miss the new Bill McHenry with BEN MONDER!


   Guitar fans,help get the awful taste of this weeks new Nickelback album with something far better! Saxophonist Bill McHenry's new album Ghosts of the Sun features first class support from guitarist Ben Monder,bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Paul Motian. McHenry,while decidedly modern in his compositions and playing,has a big fat tone more like a Ben Webster/Coleman Hawkins swing era player. Monder is one of my favorite younger guitarists. While he definitely has his own sound,he leans a bit more towards the Frisell/Metheny side of things than some of his peers do. Ghosts of the Sun comes out tomorrow 11/22/2011. Don't miss this one.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Gibson J-200 gets an overhaul - Part Two

  No wonder this guitar wasn't playing in tune and was buzzing like an angry hornet! Usually,you can perform at least one "level and recrown" ,a less expensive job. When it's this's refret time! We can also do something about the wear on the fingerboard.

In most cases,after you've removed the worn frets,you would do some "re-truing" of the fingerboard,returning it to the desired radius. With fingerboard wear,leaving it alone is a perfectly valid and sometimes desirable option, however,if you want the fingerboard to feel like new we've got to fill in those potholes!

Instead of just filling in the holes,I'll use a trick I learned from Frank Ford. (Like my blog? Thanks,but if you want to see a true master at work,check out I'll use a violin makers knife to score some lines into the wood. This will allow me to lift some of the wood fibers up and better integrate our filler material.

Here's our filler material,some rosewood dust and superglue. Don't worry,it's OK that it looks like a disaster.

   The finished product,after leveling the fingerboard. Not invisible,but better and stronger than a big spot of filler. With some new frets and some Linseed oil on the fingerboard it will look quite good.

Cleaning out the fret slots by using a Dremel tool as a router.

Putting a bit of radius into the fret wire,using a fret bender.

After plenty of prep work,including cutting the tang so the fret can hang over the binding,we're ready to put some frets in.

  All our frets are in but the ends haven't been cut yet. Some Magic Marker on the frets will show where the fret leveler has and hasn't touched. That's my aluminum radius block with self adhesive sandpaper in the bottom of the picture.

Here's our previously worn fret area. Not too bad.

After a new bone nut and saddle,this J-200 is ready to go back on the battlefield! If you haven't already,be sure to check out the rest of the repair in Part One!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Gibson J-200 gets an overhaul - Part One

  Here's a 1990's Gibson J-200 that has seen constant use as a gigging guitar. It had enough fret wear to require a re-fret and the bridge was starting to come off the top.In Part One,we'll address the bridge. It's time to give this guitar a little love!

   A peek under the saddle found a couple of shims and a Fishman Acoustic Matrix Natural pickup. The shims will be banished when we make a new saddle. The Matrix Natural was one of the best pickups around when this guitar was brand new. Even though Fishman makes what I think are superior pickups now,the customer likes the sound he gets with this one so it will go right back in when we're done.

   I don't yet own any of those spiffy heat blankets that Luthiers Mercantile sells so here's my homemade version. A pair of "L" shaped aluminum foil pieces keep my heat gun focused where I want it and the Spot Check surface thermometer (from Stewart MacDonald) keeps things from getting too toasty. Primitive but effective.

   With some gentle assistance from a pair of palate knifes the bridge popped right off with minimal wood loss. That's just what what we were hoping for.

   There are a few valid choices for what glue to use but none of them like to stick to old glue! A scraper or a sharp chisel along with patience will remedy the situation.With the bridge and the top of the guitar in great shape,this is the perfect opportunity to use fresh,hot hide glue. Hide glue will help resist the Arizona heat,the likely cause of the bridge loosening up in the first place.

You need to be quick when using hide glue,it "sets" quickly. I used my heat gun again to warm the top and bridge,giving me a few extra moments to get everything in order but I also had everything laid out and ready to go.

Here's everything clamped up. Erasers make great protective pads for the top and the bridges flat top makes  
it easy to find some scrap wood for protective clamping cauls. I'll let this set overnight and unclamp it the next day. Any glue spill out is easy to clean up with hide glue. In Part Two,we'll address those worn frets!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Oz Noy this Tuesday!

   The title alone should tell you,Oz Noy ventures into new territory with Twisted Blues Volume One. Noy has plenty of heavy hitter musician pals and calls them all in for this one. The impressive roster includes Vinnie Colaiuta,John Medeski,Will Lee,Anton Fig,Chris Layton,Allan Tousaint and Eric Johnson
   Check out Noy with Will Lee,Anton Fig John Medeski and Ralph MacDonald send The Meters Cissy Strut into outer space before tearing into the groove:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Black Sabbath Reunites...Again!

  In what must be the least surprising "surprise" announcement ever,Black Sabbath has announced that the original lineup of Iommi,Butler,Ward and Osbourne will reunite in 2012! There will be a new studio album with all new material,produced by Rick Rubin. They will appear at the Download Festival on June 10th,2012 with a tour to follow. I have mixed feelings about this,as this is one of my all time favorite bands. I think Tony,Geezer and Bill are as good as ever,with Ozzy the possible weak link. This has potential for greatness and I've got my fingers crossed!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Randy Brecker at the Glendale Jazz and Blues Festival

  Here's my last instalment of the photos I took at the Glendale Jazz and Blues Festival WAY back in April. Last,because Randy Brecker was the closing day headliner but also last because there was NO GUITAR! Hey,Randy,what gives? Brecker holds a unique place in my musical history. Seeing him this April makes him my personal record holder of longest times in between concert viewings. I had the pleasure of seeing Brecker in July of 1990 at the Art Theatre in Binghamton New York. The band included Mark Egan on bass and the under appreciated Barry Finnerty on guitar. I remember Finnerty had quite a good night and they even played  Juan For The Road,his jazz take on an Afro-Cuban vibe. Fast forward 21 years later and no Barry Finnerty. Boo! Unfortunately,Brecker did retain a band member I wish he hadn't. Rodney Holmes is a talented drummer and he sound good in a rock or fusion context (just ask Santana or Miles Davis) but he is aggressive and heavy handed no matter what else is going on around him. The guy sure does like his double kick drum pedal. So,Randy,I'll see you anytime you come to town but next time,bring a guitar player!