Out on the fringes of jazz lurks the solo electric guitar performer playing music that has been forever rejected by classical music fans. Yes, the electric guitar, which wasn’t considered a soloing instrument in jazz before Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt. Its status as king of rock and roll further alienates modern classical fans.
That curious outsider status makes Electric Solo! by Wiek Hijmans more of a treasured listen. Similar to Marc Ribot’s covers of John Zorn’s etudes on The Book Of Heads (Tzadik 1995), Hijmans plays scored pieces, with the exception of “Upward,” an improvised piece. This merger of classical with the seemingly pedestrian plugged–in guitar is an enlightening experience.
Covering Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen and Dutch composer Michael van der Aa, Hijmans honors the composer’s directions, as on “Auburn” to play in tandem and against the simultaneously broadcast tape. It's hard to tell where the music is being made. And with “Vampry!” the musician is instructed to play loud like Carlos Santana. Hijmans obliges with what sounds from Van Halen powering the classical composition.
This is music based on classical discipline, but being played with an elementary crude instrument. Kudos to Hijmans for bringing a deft touch to the indelicate electric guitar.
Track Listing: Auburn (for guitar and tape); Vampyr!; Solo For El-guitar; Upward
(improvisation); Triplum Per Chitarra; Carrousel.
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.