Russell Carlson

Russell’s Contributions


March 2005    Guitartistry

Bucky Pizzarelli

Hearing seven-string guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli play solo, as he does on Flashes (Arbors), is as rare an occurrence as a guitarist who knows what to do with that extra low string as well as Pizzarelli does. The seventh string on the Benedetto archtop Pizzarelli...


March 2005    Guitartistry

Ellington Boulevard
Greg Skaff with Joe Farnsworth and Mike LeDonne

Greg Skaff's latest album is called Ellington Boulevard (Zoho), but outside of "Isfahan," Skaff doesn't tackle Duke on the disc. Green Street would be more accurate to the music, as Skaff finds himself with Hammond B3 player Mike Le Donne and drummer Joe...


March 2005    Guitartistry

Masterpiece Guitars
Steve Howe and Martin Taylor

Among the treasures purchased by the late multimillionaire collector Scott Chinery were some 11,000 pre-Castro Cuban cigars, the first issue of Superman and a genuine Batmobile used in the campy 1960s TV series. He also had a D'Angelico Teardrop guitar...


March 2005    Guitartistry

Carlos Barbosa-Lima

Improvisation is kept to a minimum during the tracks on Brazilian guitarist Carlos Barbosa-Lima's Siboney (Zoho); the only noticeable on-the-spot playing comes from, go figure, former Bill Evans bassist Eddie Gomez, who's heard on four tracks. But the lack...


March 2005    Guitartistry

Out of This World
Joaquin Chacon

It would have been a nice touch if the packagers of Out of This World (Fresh Sound New Talent) spelled drummer Keith Copeland's name correctly on the album's back cover. Even though it's guitarist Joaquin Chacon's session, Copeland is the bright light shining...


March 2005    Guitartistry

Carl Amundson's Modern Guitar Quintet

A quintet with a front line consisting of three guitarists playing a dozen songs penned by guitarists-too much? Maybe, but not because all those strings are tangled. Carl Admundson's Modern Guitar Quintet's Guitarists! (Blue Line) features the classic archtop...


March 2005    Guitartistry

Scott DuBois Quintet

Scott DuBois' Monsoon (Soul Note) is just the sort of album you'd expect to find saxophonist David Liebman showing up on. His expressive and spiritual sound fits right into this earthy set of DuBois originals that often comes off like a late-'60s Pharoah...


March 2005    Guitartistry

Poetry of Appliance
Richard Leo Johnson Trio

There's no denying the distinct New Age sound of Richard Leo Johnson Trio's Poetry of Appliance (Cuneiform). From the beginning, "Highway 420 Revisited," guitarist Johnson finger-picks a hypnotic groove for Ricardo Ochoa's violin and Andrew Ripley's synthesizer...


December 2004    Guitartistry

The Champs
Ximo Tebar

If the names Joey DeFrancesco and Idris Muhammad are enough reason for folks to check out Spanish guitarist Ximo Tebar's 11th album, The Champs (Omix), I'd like to hope those same people will be racking up Visa debt for import copies of his last 10. Just...


December 2004    Guitartistry

Nine Stories Wide
Jonathan Kreisberg

According to the liners for Jonathan Kreisberg's second leader album, Nine Stories Wide (Criss Cross), the guitarist wants his six-string to sound like a piano. I'd urge him to just play piano if he weren't such a fascinating ax-man. Kreisberg hired great...


December 2004    Guitartistry

Glad to Be Back
Mark Elf

On Glad to Be Back (Jen Bay), mustachioed merry-maker Mark Elf returns from a bout with cancer and a relatively long three-year hiatus, Elfinly speaking, with his enviable skills on the archtop in top form and no surprises in store. These 11 tunes are what...


December 2004    Guitartistry

Corey Christiansen Quartet

As a guy who enjoys fretboard runs that sound like organized thoughts and not run-on sentences, I get the smiles from Corey Christiansen's lyrical guitar lines. It's a shame that a guitarist whose playing suggests the focus of Barney Kessel ends up squandering...


December 2004    Guitartistry

Shades Beyond
Dave Stryker

Two years prior to releasing a jointly led 2003 effort on Khaeon, guitarist Dave Stryker and reedist Steve Slagle were in the studio for Shades Beyond, a Stryker-led session released by Steeplechase. Along with organ and Fender Rhodes from David Berkman...


December 2004    Guitartistry

Forever You
Ulf Wakenius

While Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius employs an electric archtop when playing as a member of the current Oscar Peterson Quartet, he occasionally unplugs, as on Forever You (Stunt), a beautiful, ECM-ish sounding quartet session. Maybe Peterson's refined piano...


December 2004    Guitartistry

Michael Musillami Octet

All through Spirits (Playscape), a set of seven pieces written by the late reedist Thomas Chapin, it sounds like the Michael Musillami Octet wants to be two bands. One trades virtuosic, postbop solos over changes. The other does it up without form, AACM...


December 2004    Guitartistry

The Single Petal of a Rose
Steve Hancoff

Steve Hancoff uses an acoustic guitar on The Single Petal of a Rose (Out of Time), but his tone is more of the down-home variety. Hancoff's second trip to the Ellington well, following a like recording from 1999, sees him dust off another crop of less-championed...

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About Russell Carlson