The music on Six by Six: A Jazz Guitar Celebration
was recorded at a New Jersey studio in 1993 for release on a Japanese record label. It's taken a decade, but this meeting between six leading jazz guitarists--Royce Campbell, Larry Coryell, Pat Martino, John Abercrombie, Dave Stryker & Bucky Pizzarelli--is finally available in its country of origin. Campbell plays on all of the disc's ten tracks, and is joined by each of the guitarists for two songs apiece, with various players filling the bass and drum chairs.
This a very enjoyable CD, if nothing radical. Though nobody seems to be trying too hard, the players all seem to be having fun. The focus is on standards--warhorses, really--and Campbell's two originals are clever variations on the blues. The familiarity of tunes such as "Milestones," "Love For Sale" and the inevitable bossa nova reading of "Naima" actually helps to underscore the individuality of each of the players: Campbell's style, clean and bluesy, contrasts with Coryell's more cerebral playing and judiciously chorused tone, Martino's introverted, Wes Montgomery-influenced runs, Abercrombie's careful use of volume and effects, Stryker's precise plucking, and Pizzarelli's breezy stylings.
The math of the main title seems a little suspect--Ten by Six over Six (10 X 6/6) is how I would render the equation--but the secondary title is dead on. It's hard to imagine a fan of jazz guitar who wouldn't revel in this summit meeting. And for the players out there, it doesn't get much more inspirational.