Home » Jazz Articles » Jim Kimo West: More Guitar Stories

3
Album Review

Jim Kimo West: More Guitar Stories

By

Sign in to view read count
Jim Kimo West: More Guitar Stories
Guitarist Kimo West (aka Jim West) is probably best known as the guitarist in musical satirist "Weird Al" Yankovic's band. Anyone familiar with Yankovic's music knows that is an eclectic gig, but West is even more eclectic on his own. He jokingly describes this album—a sequel to Guitar Stories: Slack Key & Beyond (Westernmost Records, 2016)—as a "Slack Key, New Age, Jazz, Funk, Celtic, Americana and Indian Classical mashup." Crazy as that sounds, it is about right; West uses slack key open guitar tunings for all of his main guitar parts, which are named and spelled out in the liner notes. Try them at home! But the music demonstrates how stylistically flexible they can be.

"Mele Ahiahi-Evening Song" opens the set with a gentle evocation of the evening. Despite the Hawaiian title, it has more of a general Americana sound, with the unique coloration of West's pedal steel imitation in the accompaniment. "Windward" has more of a band sound, led by Charlie Bisharat's violin, with a fine Jimmy Johnson fretless bass solo as well. In fact, the whole album includes a larger cast of guest musicians than its predecessor. "Birimintingo" is a term from West African kora playing. West employs two slack-key tuned guitars to create a remarkable emulation of that instrument's sound, as well as a West African feel.

"Tin Roof Shing-A-Ling" sounds like a rural village party, with a funky feel aided by Ben Powell's violin and Dan Lutz's upright bass (both players also contributed to the first album). The beautiful ballad "Moonbow" features a singing Moog guitar part (not a synthesizer, but an electric guitar with unique sustain and filter possibilities) accompanied by a string orchestra and cellist Simone Vitucci (another veteran of the previous record). "The Lydian Sea" takes inspiration from Indian classical music. The picture is completed by Cenk Erdogan's fretless guitar (sounding like a sarod) and two Indian percussionists. West's only solo guitar track, the slack key blues "Sugar Cane Blues" demonstrates his potent storytelling skills without accompaniment.

It is hard to imagine a fan of finger-style guitar playing who would not find something to like here. West is in full command as guitarist and composer, crafting a diverse series of musical portraits, with the aid of a large cast of empathetic guest players. Here's hoping for a shorter wait until the next installment.

Track Listing

Mele Ahiahi-Evening Song; Windward; Birimintingo; Paniolo Starlight; Tin Roof Shing-A-Ling; Moonbow; Green Islands; The Lydian Sea; Sugar Cane Blues; Soul Motion.

Personnel

Kimo West: guitar, acoustic; Jimmy Johnson: bass, electric; M.B. Gordy: percussion; Charlie Bisharat: violin; Dan Lutz: bass, acoustic; Simone Vitucci: cello; Cenk Erdogan: guitar; T.J. Troy: tablas.

Additional Instrumentation

Jim Kimo West: slack key guitar, acoustic “pedal steel” guitar, Teisco electric guitar, Moog guitar, mandolin, electric baritone guitar, prepared guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, soprano guitar, dobro, baritone acoustic guitar, 12 string guitar, keyboards, mbira, shaker, finger cymbals, percussion, string orchestration

Album information

Title: More Guitar Stories | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Westernmost Records


FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter Since 1995, shortly after the dawn of the internet, All About Jazz has been a champion of jazz, supporting it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to rigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album

Tags

More

Xaybu: The Unseen
Steve Lehman & Sélébéyone
Secret People
Secret People
If I Knew Then
Naama Gheber

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.