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Carl Amundson’s Modern Guitar Quintet: Guitarists!

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 tone of one guitar sent straight down the center while the others are placed on the left and right channels. Bassist Bob Massicotte and drummer Stephen Bucholtz could have provided more interplay but instead stick to simple support, staying out of the way of the eights-trading, lead-doubling (and tripling) axmen: Admunson, Aaron Watson and Nate Najar. Admunson chose tunes rife with melody, like Johnny Smith’s “Walk, Don’t Run,” Wes Montgomery’s “Far Wes” and Barney Kessel’s “You’re the One for Me,” which are perfect lines for this exercise in harmonizing with like timbres. Even though the album runs less than 40 minutes, the concept wears thin halfway through, and the guitarists never vary their tones for some needed sonic variance. It’s the kind of album where each track is enjoyable, but it’s best enjoyed within a mix of other music.

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