Various Artists – I Never Met A Guitar (solo guitars for the XXI Century) (CFG 005)
The album consists of sixteen pieces, by the following musicians : Brandon Ross, Elliott Sharp, Gunnar Geisse, Henry Kaiser, Janet Feder, Jean-François Pauvros, Jeff Parker, Kazuhisa Uchihashi, Mary Halvorson, Michael Gregory, Mick Barr, Mike Cooper, Nels Cline, Noel Akchote, Raoul Björkenheim, Scott Fields.
The great thing about the album is the breadth of material that Sharp put together, and the quality and variety of the pieces.
There are some real discoveries here for me : Jean-François Pauvros is absolutely brilliant, demonstrating the beauty of slowness and emotional depth of his extended techniques; Mike Cooper playing on acoustic guitar, very bluesy and sensitive,
And my favorite guitar players of the moment are excellent too on the album : Noël Akchoté playing a crisp and sweet ballad, so does Nels Cline with possibly the most jazzy piece on the album, Raoul Björkenheim showing how subtlety and rawness can be combined, Brandon Ross on his six-string banjo.
Then there are of course the guys who have barely anything to tell, or at least they play stuff that we’ve heard so often before, and that leave me quite indifferent : either the blues (Michael Gregory), avant-garde emptiness (Kazuhisa Uchihashi), high speed emptiness (Mick Barr).
For the guitar freaks, some technical detail is given too about the mics and amps and guitar-builders, but it’s all within the boundaries of acceptability.
That being said, most of the tunes are not jazz at all. Lots of new ideas and insights into modern guitar playing. Not everything works though, and that’s possibly as well.