Frank Morgan died yesterday. He was 73. Interview. Some sounds. (another beautiful american saxophone stylist).
A day in the life of Abdullah Ibrahim, South-African composer and performer who creates hypnotic and softly singing grooves. To me, his recent piano trios are the highlights of his work, because they are both swinging and soulful. But his compositions do not sound bad in a big band setting -(or in an arrangement for guitar). His music is quiet and meditative but powerful, and has sometimes been used as a banner for freedom and equality. Now he likes to withdraw once in a while to the smallest scenes (french commentary with some english underneath), putting strong emphasis on necessary simplicity. Written portrait.
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.
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.
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]