Jay Geils, Duke Robillard, Gerry Beaudoin - New Guitar Summit
The use of vintage guitars from the 1930's and 40's gives this set, covers of slow blues and jazz tunes, a warm feel. It is all delivered with ample chops and arrangements; what is missing is passion. "New Guitar Summit" is confident and pleasant, but doesn't move. It is one of those records you can't dislike, but can't really dig into either; it is just there. While J. Geils, Duke Robillard and Gerry Beaudoin are great guitar players, none has exactly been a trend setter on their axe. They are joined on several tracks by another famous but not exciting guitarist, Randy Bachman, who contributes vocals on a couple tracks.
Playing to their strengths as sidemen, the trio sense of harmony is key on tracks like Charlie Christian's "Bennie's Bungle," "Perdido" and "Azure Mineur," where the slow tempo allows the band to gently swing in and out of the guitar solos. "Ain't Nobody's Business" is a a slight soul effort.
It is not that this is a bad record, but it doesn't swing when it needs to. The set features only three originals, and the eight covers have been done better, most of all by their original writers. Paying homage to mentors is one thing; inviting comparison is another. "New Guitar Summit" gives off a fun, but watered down vibe, which is usually a death blow to blues or swing. Despite the chops and the heart present, this is background music.
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