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Guitar Supreme: Giant Steps in Fusion Guitar by Various Artists

Over the years, there have been a number of recordings celebrating the music of John Coltrane (McCoy Tyner, Arkadia Jazz All Stars and Elvin Jones to name but a few). Giant Steps In Fusion Guitar is a tribute from some of the most respected jazz fusion guitarists on the scene today. Artists ranging from Eric Johnson to Frank Gambale play on some of Coltrane's more popular compositions as well as a few obscurities.

Gambale's version of Naima is both contemporary and sensitive. Played at mid tempo, The guitar strings sound silky and warm played over a lush arrangement. Weaving in and out of the melody but never losing touch with the meaning of the piece. Freedom and taste abound throughout.

Howe's reworking of Giant Steps is influenced by the haunting techniques Hendrix used to such great effect. After stating the melody, Howe enters his own world of expression, with blistering finger power and determination. After soloing for a while, the organ takes over for a few welcome bars. Balance is the key with Howe leading the way.

One of the great compositions from Mongo Santamaria, Afro Blue has been a favorite of many musicians not only because of the involved melody but also because of it's freedom with chord structures etc... Richman soars to new heights with vigor and ease. Again, we find the organ playing an important role in balancing out the melody, especially when Richman gets involved with Golding.

Lightly swinging, Stern takes My Favorite Things into a softer direction than Coltrane would. Played straight, much of the passion is missing. What is present is a melodious journey that satisfies on another level. A level that moves the melody along with the improvisation, to a suitable conclusion.

Coryell's rough take on Satellite is a breath of fresh air. Using a tear down approach on the strings, Coryell teases with some gentle nuances that tease the listener resulting in a balanced and open ended approach. Goldings tasty fingers serve up a delightful segue to Coryell's guitar.

A relatively unknown piece, Village Blues is funkafied by Ford's ability to let loose and have fun. One of the most satisfying numbers in this collection, Ford is in fine form paying homage to a man that has certainly been an influence on him in terms of taking a solo in a less structured way, while remembering where the melody resides.

A Guitar Supreme features a collection of tunes that Coltrane enjoyed playing. On balance, there is much to enjoy considering the diversity of talent presented on this engaging recording.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Various Artists
  • CD Title: Guitar Supreme: Giant Steps in Fusion Guitar
  • Genre: Fusion
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Tone Center
  • Tracks: Resolution, Naima, Lazy Bird, Giant Steps, Mr. Syms, Afro Blue, Central Park West/ Your Lady, Satellite, My Favorite Things, Equinox, Village Blues, Crescent
  • Musicians: Mike Stern (guitar), Eric Johnson (guitar), Larry Coryell (guitar), Greg Howe (guitar), Steve Lukather (guitar), Frank Gambale (guitar), Jeff Richman (guitar) plus other musicians....
  • Rating: Five Stars
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