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Steve Vai Launches Acoustic Label

Shredmeister Steve Vai isn’t the first guitarist that comes to mind when you’re talkin’ jazz. His firey, metallic leads are usually found on albums with lightning- and gargoyle-festooned covers; these are not the mellow tones of the archtop. But even though Vai remains an easily categorized player, he appears to be a well-rounded listener. He’s adding an acoustic imprint to his fusion-oriented Favored Nations record label, whose first discs will include an album featuring tunes from the songbooks of Django Reinhardt (pictured) and Thelonious Monk.

The album, Invisible Threads is a collaboration between ex-Police guitarist and Charles Mingus fanatic Andy Summers and former Soft Machine member John Etheridge, who comes to Reinhardt’s music with a certain pedigree, having played on a handful of albums by Django’s buddy, Stephane Grappelli. The compositions on the disc not written by Reinhardt and Monk are interestingly described as “extrovert originals.” The album comes out Sept. 10.

Favored Nations Acoustic will also release Peter Huttlinger’s Naked Pop in September. No jazz here, just instrumental versions of songs by the Beatles, Steely Dan, The Allman Brothers and Stevie Wonder and a few original compositions as well. There’s no word on how extrovert those originals are, however. Naked Pop comes out Sept. 24.

Originally Published