Friday, September 21, 2007

Guitar Zone - Head Food

Opening with fret master Andy Summers, "Monk Hanks Ten" (from Synaethesia), Guitar Zone sets itself out as a daring and perceptive overview of the most expansive and important work done with guitar composition. Each track is off a full-length CMP release. This is no exhibition of mere solo guitar -- each piece is equally demanding of all the instruments involved. The Summers piece relies heavily on the talents of drummer Greg Bissonette and keyboardist Mitchell Forman. This example of contemporary progressive rock is well mated with another state of the art creation that shows off guitarist Allan Holdsworth and drummer Chad Wackerman. Not everything is over the top and born of modern studio capabilities, though -- the duo of Miroslav Tadic (guitar and classical slide guitar) and Mark Nauseef (drums and gongs) gives a sparse, skeletal piece whose serpentine undulations nicely reflect the title of its source album, The Snake Music. Inexplicably, Jack Bruce is given three tracks here. Because Bruce works with excellent personnel (Eric Clapton and the ex-Zappa Fowler Brothers horn section) his keyboard-drenched forays sound too '80s compared to the rest of the selections. Also unforgettable is the ubiquitous Bill Frisell joining Wayne Horvitz (organ) and Michael Shrieve (drums). Guitarist extraordinaire Nicky Skopelitis puts the sounds of over a half dozen instruments into one three-minute song for a very hopeful and positive-sounding piece. David Torn makes a one-man show on "Spell Breaks with the Weather." Here "guitars and guitar-like thingies" soar magnificently above deep, deep bass sounds. Also present is Bernie Worrell (Hammond B-3) and Buckethead (guitar) on the requiem-like "The Mask." All sixteen tracks push the limits of guitar possibility. all music

1. Monk Hangs Ten - Andy Summers 2. Hamburg 2 - Miroslav Tadic/Mark Nauseef
3. Holiday Insane - Chad Wackerman 4. Willpower - Jack Bruce 5. Sam The Man - Michael Shrieve 6. Uncle Herbie's Dance - Sonny Sharrock/Nicky Skopelitis
7. Spell Breaks With The Weather - David Torn 8. Middle Rose - Victory Of The Better Man
9. Manini - Trilok Gurtu 10. The Mask - Bernie Worrell 11. Life On Earth - Jack Bruce
12. Born Under A Bad Sign - Jack Bruce 13. Envelopes Of Dispair - Jimi Sumen
14. Steller Rays - Michael Shrieve 15. Nardis - Mick Goodrick/Wolfgang Muthspiel/Dave Liebman 16. Sleep My Love - Phillip Catherine/Charlie Mariano/Jasper V. Hof



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