Category Archives: Guitarist

Guitar players only, the exclusive club of instrumentalists

Sylvain Luc: Sylvain Luc by Renaud Letang

Sylvain Luc by Renaud Letang

Today’s album comes from French guitarist Sylvain Luc, one of my favorite guitar players. The last few albums he released were all in duo setup, one with Richard Galliano on accordion, another with Marylise Florid on guitar and the last album with Stéphane Belmondo on trumpet. This time Sylvain Luc teams up with producer Renaud Letang in a studio duo setup.

Sylvain plays all the instruments mainly different guitars, bass (he is also an excellent bass player) and some keyboards. The album contains new original material composed by Sylvain Luc and Renaud Letang.

Renaud has some more details on the production process:
“The production of this album was carried out in several stages.
I first asked Sylvain to compose themes specifically for this project, giving great importance to the simplicity and effectiveness of the melody.
Secondly, we jointly chose the compositions that could suit the style of production that I imagined. The next step was to record demos only with Sylvain in order to get the best of himself without the intervention of other musicians.
This approach led us to glimpse what the identity of the album could be. At this stage it seemed obvious to us not to use drums or percussions in order to keep the intimate side of the production. The limited choice of instruments and sounds was ultimately decisive (electric guitar, midi guitar, acoustic guitar, electric bass, Roland Juno 60 and a multitude of old and modern effects pedals)”.

And Sylvain adds:
“Apart from an acoustic piano, a few old synthesizers that Renaud owned, and a handful of bass parts, there is only guitar. But I arrived with a whole arsenal of pedals with singular sounds, in particular octavers, the idea being to “derive” the guitar from its usual sound palette”.

The result is a fantastic album with Sylvain’s distinctive guitar style combined with rich sounds and textures.

The album starts with “La source des castors” where Sylvain Luc already pulls out all the stops of his guitar and bass effects with a little bit of synthesizer background setting the stage for the things to come.

“B-Beach” is the next song and this song is one of my favorites on the album. Great guitar groove, nice harmonic and rhythmic surprises and a cool bass solo.

The album continues with “Ne vois-tu rien venir”, another beautiful melody and a great guitar solo with a few kicks with octavers added.

The next song “80 vs 2000″ is the hidden motto of this album, the combination of analog sounds and effects of the ’80s combined with the listening habits and expectations from digitally created music. In the middle an easy floating guitar melody. This is definitely the highlight of the album.

“Bolero langoureux” comes in strict opposite with an acoustic guitar opening and guitar and bass in dialog in this gorgeous ballad.

The next song “Funny Blues” is not a blues as we would expect it, however is another example of Sylvain Luc’s skills to compose beautiful melodies. “What was surprising was that I have positioned myself as a singer, ultimately”, summarizes Sylvain Luc.

“Vue du septième” comes more like a children’s song, very easy going and harmonic with a nice and steady groove.

“Indie souvenirs” is an evocation of an Indian tour of 2009, offering a kaleidoscope of syncopated rhythms with string glissandos. The theme is dubbed with a bottleneck guitar and the steel-drum solo is played on a guitar-synth.

“Pensée nomade” is in contrast acoustic, played on a classical nylon string guitar.

The album closes with a last dance “Transe 18″. A hypnotic motive is the base for this song, an obvious melody does not exist, only a sparse bass pattern and some synthesizer harmonies added with a long fade out. A perfect ending for this album.

Overall this album is outstanding, it breathes the extraordinary guitar playing of Sylvain Luc but also the current “Zeitgeist” where you are thrown back to yourself with all those limitations during the pandemic. The collaboration between Sylvain Luc and Renaud Letang worked perfectly and I can highly recommend this album.

More information about Sylvain Luc, upcoming concerts and links to his albums and videos are found on his website:
https://www.sylvain-luc.com/

And finally the Spotify playlist with the complete album:

David Gilmore: From Here To Here

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Guitarist and composer David Gilmore (not to be mixed with David Gilmour from Pink Floyd) has released a new album on Criss Cross Jazz called “From Here to Here”. The album features eight original compositions from David Gilmore plus two covers.

I have met David Gilmore some years ago in Langnau where he taught the guitar class during the Langnau Jazz Festival. He enjoyed teaching, we had a great time with him and he also showed his mastery in the concerts and the jam sessions.

The album was recorded in 2018 and the line-up includes E.J. Strickland on drums whom I also met at that time in Langnau.

The complete line-up is:

  • David Gilmore – guitar
  • Luis Perdomo – piano
  • Brad Jones- bass
  • E.J. Strickland – drums

The album starts with “Focus Pocus”, a very energetic composition by David Gilmore. After a great guitar solo E.J. Stricklands on drums and Luis Perdomo on piano get their chance to shine.  Excellent start into the album and it makes appetite for more music from this band.

“Cyclic Episode” by Sam Rivers is the next song. A nice composition with interesting changes and great dynamic support by drums and bass during the guitar and piano solo. Trading 8 bars of guitar solo with 8 bars drums solo completes the tune in best jam style.

The album continues with “Metaverse”, a song where the harmonies remind me of Miles Davis’ music from his electric phase in the 1980′s. The guitar comes distorted, the melody is very artistic and the groove moves between even and swing. The solo is a dialog between guitar and piano. A great tune.

In sharp contrast is “Child of Time” where David Gilmore plays on  a nylon guitar. This beautiful ballad features David Gilmore on guitar and Luis Perdomo on piano.

The band returns to an electric sound  with “When and Then”. The precision of this band is amazing, the melody is played in unison and all the little breaks just fit perfectly. We hear again two excellent solos by guitar and piano.

“Innerlude” is the next song. This soft composition by David Gilmore starts very light and open and indulges itself in it’s harmonies.

The album continues with “Interplay” by Bill Evans. This jazz classics features Brad Jones on bass. His great solo is outperformed by an incredible guitar solo. Sound and style of this song keep the spirit of the original with Jim Hall on guitar. One of my highlights on the album.

“The Long Game” is the next song. Another very rhythmic composition that allows E.J. Strickland to set the course. Bass and piano provide the background in unison for the staccato melody played in unison by piano and guitar.  Chapeau for Luis Perdomo for this outstanding performance.

The album continues with “Free Radicals”. The fast latin groove is the foundation for extensive solos by piano,  distorted guitar and drums. After an interlude Brad Jones gets his chance for a bass solo.

“Libation” is the last song on the album. The guitar starts the groove of the song followed by an open and melodic part. Solos by guitar, piano and bass round up this modern jazz composition.

“From Here to Here” is a great album from one of the best guitar players on the scene today matched by a rhythm section of New York first-callers. Contemporary jazz compositions and excellent solos presented with a lot of energy and enthusiasm are the main characteristics of this album.

The closing words come from David Gilmore:
“I wanted to get a smaller working group in the studio to facilitate touring. My very first record Ritualism was centered around a guitar-piano-bass-drums quartet; I wanted to return to that format (a) because I like it, and (b) because of logistics.”

So let’s hope we see him touring with this music and hopefully also with these outstanding musicians.

More information about David Gilmore and upcoming shows are found on his website:
http://www.davidgilmore.net/

And finally the complete album on Spotify: