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John Hasbrouck is more Jorma Kaukonen than Leo Kottke, more John Fahey than Peter Lang, more Stephan Grossman than Kelly Joe Phelps. The edge that Mr. Hasbrouck has over about everyone else mentioned is that he is not so overly reverent as to suffocate the music (I cite his kooky "House of the Rising Sun" as the example).
Mr. Hasbrouck might be best compared to Charlie Patton. He is a songster, as opposed to a blues musician. Patton was well versed in the popular, novelty, and religious music of the early 1920s, playing whatever genre was called for by the circumstance. Ice Cream, John Hasbrouck’s newest offering, provides the same stylistic breadth and depth. In this single disc he plays nine guitars, including six- and twelve-string resophonic steel bodies, trusty Martins and a couple of custom-made jobs. His song choice ranges from the public domain of "Keep it Clean" to Gershwin’s "Oh, Lady Be Good." He is most at home with rustic ballads like "John Hardy" and "I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry." He throws off a passable "As Time Goes By" and deconstructs "The House of the Rising Sun." It is his sense of humor on this last piece that makes this a recording to seek. And his guitar playing is excellent also.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.