Sometimes you've got a song or a tune but something's missing : call Mike Stern, he could add some stuff.
Pushing the envelope and changing the frame within which improvisational jazz has evolved for years is the focus of many contemporary jazz musicians. As far as the guitar is concerned, merging Hendrix's legacy with be-bop and the rhythms of popular music has been a primary objective. This can be traced back to the guitar of Pete Cosey in Miles Davis's groups of the 70'S. Jean-Paul Bourelly has been directly influenced by him, and Dave Fiuczynski's group, The Headless Torsos, pays its dues to Miles here. The rhythm concept behind such a shift is explained by wayne Krantz at the outset of this documentary. One can hear how close it is of Kevin Eubanks solo playing. Other guitarists of interest : Mitch Stein, Oz Noy, Charlie Hunter.
To me, he embodies The classical guitarist with all the clichés attached. But he can also make any material his own, or use forms with humor. He's got good compositions too.
French jazz guitar is often mistaken for swing guitar, or gypsy style guitar. It's true that great french guitarists, like Bireli Lagrene or Christian escoudé, are still playing in this style. But curiosity is a trademark of most of the French guitarists, and even Bireli Lagrene gave a try to various kinds of jazz. French guitarists have been attracted to Be Bop from the start (btw, even Django has been). Maybe you've heard of Sacha Distel ? [more inside]
The most creative jazz musician to originate anywhere outside the United States (Duke Ellington) is maybe the great guitarist Django Reinhardt. It is true that he gave birth to a style which is now played by many musicians. His achievements are outstanding, if we consider the events of his life. He still fascinates both the scholar (great links but in need of some work : see french wiki for more biographic details) among other things because of controversial details (his survival during WWII and the very origin of swing manouche (gypsy jazz)) and the aspiring guitarist (more) (essential resource). But it's maybe better just to listen - and watch - him play. Further watching : Nuages, an amateur documentary in 1 2 3 4 5 parts. Previously.
Flamenco guitar is such a subtle and delicate mean of expression that it looks like arranging flamenco music for a number of musicians isn't practical or efficient. Nevertheless, many attempts have been made to use flamenco phrasing or colors within large ensembles : in a classical piece like The Aranjuez Concierto, in jazz when Gil Evans teamed with Miles Davis to greate several pieces entitled Sketches of Spain, or more recently, with the beautiful work of Maria Schneider, or the small units of Louis Winsberg. One of the most convincing score has been recently produced by Juan Carmona, a gipsy guitarist from Marseille, a work performed by many philarmonic orchestras.
There are several ways to roam the world. But if you want to do it like a king, you have to master this. Maybe mix it with that. Or this (spanish spoken here). Then, you can bring your old acoustic guitar, hit the street and sing.
This might lead you to learn to play guitar, to write poems, to sing, or just to watch and listen more intently. Kelly joe Phelps, from washington state, is one of the most beautiful musicians I've ever seen. He's got a great way to play traditionals and his originals are mesmerizing.
Some more great french guitar players. Nelson Veras first came to France to meet Pat Metheny (he was 14 then, it has been documented on video by Frank Cassenti) but upon meeting some other jazzmen , he decided to stay in France and to experiment in various settings. Robert Crumb isn't exactly a "great french guitar player", but his decision to move to France (his or his wife's decision) and later his responsability in the creation of Les Primitifs du Futur has played a part in the rebirth of ancient french styles ("musette") and the renewed interest in old jazz and blues forms. [more inside]
Flamenco clearly belongs to spain. But so many immigrants came to France to find work or escape from the civil war that there is a small community of guitarists in southern France who are playing it with original voices. Bernardo Sandoval was the subject of a post in mefi music some time ago. Antonio "kiko" ruiz is about to come to the United States with Renaud-Garcia-Fons : their work can be seen here. Serge Lopez is another great guitarist who puts some guitar parts on his website. Salvador Paterna adds to the traditional sound of flamenco both the 'oud and the violin. They are all from or nearby Toulouse.
another beautiful guitarist from louisiana Such a wise cat he even could replace t-bone walker in a minute. Well, so he said with his enthralling voice. He was such a beautiful singer. Unique violin player. He disappeared in the aftermath of hurricane katrina. Peace.
He wasn't the greatest technician on earth (he only studied a short time with a teacher, as states his biography), he wasn't really famous outside Brazil, in spite of the many recordings available under his name, of his various talents (drawing, designing a new string instrument), but his playing is really endearing, and whatever the material, originals, bach or chico buarque, he made his point across easily.