Quintette du Hot Club de France
Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli
1934-40 [ASV Living Era]
Gypsy-jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt's work with consummate swing violinist Stephane Grappelli is a jazz essential. Reinhardt gave up the violin after losing movement in two fingers in a 1928 fire. As a result he developed a unique style of playing guitar, achieving significant success in Paris with the Quintette du Hot Club de France.
The Genius of the Electric Guitar
Charlie Christian & Benny Goodman
Christian died of tuberculosis in his mid-20s before ever having much of a chance to establish a successful solo career. These tracks were recorded with Benny Goodman's bands between 1939 and 1941. Christian was an original who pioneered the electric or "amplified" guitar while occasionally venturing into uncharted bebop territory.
The Incredible Jazz Guitar
This easygoing hard bop outing catches thumb-picking guitarist Montgomery at the peak of his prowess. A terrific mix of covers and originals - standout tracks include 'Four on Six', 'West Coast Blues' and Sonny Rollins' upbeat 'Airegin'. There are obvious signs of Django Reinhardt's influence on several of the longer solos.
This superb live album from guitarist Wes Montgomery is augmented by the fastest sax-man in the world - Johnny Griffin - and the delightful Wynton Kelly Trio. Not surprisingly, the Paul Chambers/Jimmy Cobb rhythm section does not disappoint.
1963 [Blue Note]
A superb mix of soul and hard bop stylings - with a healthy dose of blues on top. The soulfully sleazy 'Chitlins Con Carne' kicks things off, immediately followed by the bluesy 'Mule'. Things don't stray too far from the path from there on in, with Stanley Turrentine's tenor consistently proving the perfect foil for Burrell's intimate solo runs.
This record pre-dates the electrical excesses of the Mahavishnu Orchestra - with guitarist McLaughlin stretching out in a very English quartet featuring baritonist John Surman. McLaughlin pens all the tracks, but it is really Surman who shines through as the key player. 'Binky's Beam' is an all-time favourite with British jazz fans.
Beyond the Blue Horizon
Benson's best pure-jazz record finds him firmly between his soul phase and later crossover work. The Jack DeJohnette/Ron Carter rhythm section provides most of the inspiration for some truly adventurous guitar playing. Benson's vocals are also outstanding, showing a harder edge than those only familiar with his later work might expect.
At a time when electrified fusion was becoming increasingly popular, Pass released a series of pure-jazz virtuoso albums featuring unaccompanied guitar. This set of standards was the first to be released, launching a whole new phase in Pass' career. Not surprisingly, his live performances were noted for their technical & artistic brilliance.
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