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Harrison,Joel: Guitar Talk

Guitarist Joel Harrison has over twenty releases to his credit as a leader. His latest effort entitled Guitar Talk is one of two inaugural releases on the AGS (Alternative Guitar Summit) Recordings label. He is also the founder and director of AGS which has been putting on guitar clinics and camps since 2010.

On Guitar Talk Harrison has crafted an album of duets with some of the finest guitar players in the Jazz world. Ben Monder, Steve Cardenas, Pete McCann, David Gilmore as well as bassist Steve Swallow all come together to join Harrison on Joel’s nine original compositions, while the final two tracks are solo interpretations of “Reflections in D” and “America The Beautiful”.

There’s no studio trickery here just “two amps in a room, no overdubs” and the overall vibe feels both organic and spontaneous. The compositions are relatively laid back and mellow, but that isn’t to imply that there aren’t any fireworks, it’s just that they’re slightly subdued, which may seem like a contradiction I know. Harrison’s playing style and sound gels perfectly with his partners and the interplay is so crazy good that at times you forget that you are listening to more than one guitarist. This is especially evident on the two collaborations with Pete McCann “Saturday Night with Vic” and Rebound”. The latter track is probably the most upbeat track on the album and has some brilliant, clean and crisp soling from both guitarists. Other highlights here include the two duets with bassist Steve Swallow “Song For Steve Swallow” and “I’m Still Asking The Question” as well as two wonderful meetings with Ben Monder on “Autumn In Olivebridge” and “Winter Solstice”. The former track has some very cool reflective and atmospheric passages that towards the end of the song begin to morph into slightly more aggressive textures. They seem to bubble just below the surface but never completely manifest themselves before the song’s conclusion. Those are just some of the highlights of an album of guitar instrumentals that is a complete joy to listen to from beginning to end. If you appreciate instrumental jazz guitar albums and want to hear what some of the top players in the game bring to the table then look no further than this album. Joel Harrison is a top-notch guitarist who has not only crafted some excellent compositions, he’s also chosen some fantastic collaborators to help bring his latest musical vision to life.

Track Listing
1) It Falls On You (6:02)
2) Sunday Night With Vic (7:47)
3) Autumn In Olivebridge (8:09)
4) Rebound (6:12)
5) I Knew Right Away (4:23)
6) Song For Steve Swallow (5:07)
7) Winter Solstice (7:11)
8) I’m Still Asking The Question (5:54)
9) Black Mountain Breakdown (5:52)
10) Reflections in D (4:00)
11) America The Beautiful (4:16)

Added: June 6th 2021
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: AGS Recordings Bandcamp
Hits: 627
Language: english

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