Guitar duos present many possibilities for intrepid musicians. Such pairings can be opportunities for boundary-pushing sonic explorations.
Scharfefelder, a collaboration between guitarists Elliott Sharp and Scott Fields, is a frenetic set of duets performed on acoustic guitars. This is a challenging listen, with dissonant passages a common occurrence, but still obvious that both musicians are masters of the instrument. Tracks such as "Branendrane" and "Put your pennies in my Portuguese cork hat" showcase the iconoclasticand quite different from each otherplaying of both guitarists. Sharp and Fields both contributed to the compositional structures here, with each piece more of a loose set of parameters for improvisation than tunes in any conventional sense.
The more musically interesting of the two recordings, The Lady of Khartoum takes inspiration from the music of West Africa and the Middle East. Garrison Fewell, a well-known educator and performer, teams up with fellow guitarist Eric Hofbauer for a collection of mostly improvised duets. Both musicians used prepared guitars in an attempt to simulate the sound of different ethnic instruments such as the kora. Additionally, both use percussion instruments, such as bells hanging from their tuning pegs, to augment the instrumentation and create the desired atmosphere. Tracks like "Dogon Delta Blues" and "Devil at the Salang Pass" are adventurous and quirky, exploring the boundaries of the guitar's sonic possibilities. "Farsighted Friendship," a John Tchicai composition (Fewell is a long-time collaborator), is a fitting closing tune, beautiful and contemplative.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: Branedrane; Between octopus and squid; Big, brutal, cold raindrops; Minerali; Giganotasaurus; Shuffle through the restaurateur gauntlet; Douabula; Put your pennies in my Portuguese cork hat; Doubleviz; Fresh red flea; Freefall; Fried splash.
Personnel: Elliott Sharp, Scott Fields: guitars.
The Lady of Khartoum
Tracks: Prologue: Before the Dream; The Lady of Khartoum; Dogon Delta Blues; Comfort for an Affliction; Devil at the Salang Pass, Ma'at's Mood; Let's Cool One; Eyes of Nkisi; A Bourbour's Spell; Loose Life; A Cajun Raven; We Need Your Number; The Returning Serpent; Backyard Free Bop; Farsighted Friendship.
Personnel: Garrison Fewell: guitar, slide, sticks, bells, percussion; Eric Hofbauer: guitar, metal box, sticks percussion.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.