Friday, May 16, 2008

Mental Health Break -- my favorite guitarists

As a recovering musician and guitarist, I am constantly amazed by the talents of my favorite guitar players. I am one of those rare guys who never really got into blues or really straight jazz -- although I can appreciate all of that. Really, my faves are the cats to really took chances with their instruments and their compositions. The top two couldn't be more different: Allan Holdsworth and Robert Fripp. Fripp is predominantly left-brain, precision cross-picking style, alternate tunings, and angular, often dissonant composition and improvisation. Holdsworth is completely the opposite, with all left-hand technique for voicing chords and soloing. The videos here showcase what I'm talking about. Check out Holdsworth's left hand during his solo and you'll see.

For Fripp, I selected a cut from a later version of King Crimson, mostly because it spends so much time on Fripp. It's not my favorite piece of music. If you want to get a good idea of what Fripp can do, do a YouTube search and pull anything he does with King Crimson or David Sylvian.

Honorable mention to a fantastic acoustic guitarist: Ralph Towner, who I first heard at age 16 when my dear old friend Titus Levi (then we just called him Ty) and his dad took me to see the acoustic jazz band Oregon at the old Golden Bear in Huntington Beach. Here he is performing Miles Davis's "Nardis," a popular favorite.

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