The guitar is probably the most popular instrument in the world. It’s portable and can be used in all kinds of music. And there are as many types of guitarists as there are guitars. Three-chord wonders, jazzbos playing Wes Montgomery licks, blues guitarists playing classic blues progressions, as well as, a lot of people who could use a few guitar lessons. There are also those very, very good classical guitarists who rarely wander out of their comfort zones, namely standard classical and Spanish guitar repertoire.
Then, there are the exceptional ones who excel at whatever they touch. There are a few new and recent albums by guitarists who’ve blown me away.
The first is a guy named Jason Vieaux. I had never heard of this American guitarist, born in Buffalo, New York in 1973. On his album cover photo his profile looks more like he’s a country guitarist with his proud pompadour. Anyway, I played the album and within a few seconds I realized that this one very serious player. His repertoire is varied, from classical staples like Tarrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra to pieces by Cuban composer Leo Brouwer, Jobim, and Stanley Myers’ lovely “Cavatina” from the film Deer Hunter.
The second new album features Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo, called Só: Brazilian Essence (release date 2/4/14). He’s a first call player who’s worked with many top artists today, including Eliane Elias, Jane Monheit, Luciana Souza, Alyssa Graham, Diana Krall, Yo-Yo Ma, and even artists from other genres like DJ Logic.
The third guitarist, Roland Dyens, was born in Tunisia in 1955 and started guitar studies at age 5. He’s proven himself adept in so many different genres, both classical, gypsy-manouche a la Django Reinhardt, Spanish classics, as well as, Brazilian.
Here are three videos of each of these guitarists playing Antonio Carlos Jobim’s bossa nova classic “A Felicidade” (Happiness).
Romero Lubambo in a live performance (another song, not A Felicidade: short clip but amazing nonetheless!