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Published: 2002/01/23
by Brad Weiner

Retrospective – New Guitar Summit

Francesca Records 1002

The New Guitar Summit is simply a union between three amazing guitarists.
Gerry Beaudoin, Jay Geils and Duke Robillard are accomplished axe-wielding
musicians who can pull off a surprising number of styles.
Retrospective is not
exactly an album, it is more of a compilation.

The first three tracks are brand new, and feature all three guitarists laying out their smooth jazz lines over the rhythm section of bassist Bob Nieske and drummer Gordon Grottenthaller. These three tunes sound generally the same. They have breezy melodies and flow well through the form. At times they are a reminiscent of a Fortune 500 elevator soundtrack, but they never stray too far into corporate America. The next eight tracks were mined from the three artists' solo work. There are vocal jazz numbers including "Exactly Like You" and "The Trouble With Me Is You" and a ripping BB King cover entitled "I Stay in the Mood" where Geils throws down some serious chops with harp maestro Magic Dick. My favorite track is the Beaudoin cover of "All Blues" which not only comes from a masterpiece like "Kind of Blue", but also features David Grisman hitting his perfected mandolin tremolo on the melody. Cannonball would be impressed, I am sure of that. Another highlight is the duet between Beaudoin and Robillard Mynah for "McDounough". It is the only track which features the guitarists without a band, so we really get to hear them fly. Overall, the disc is not cohesive. It doesn't represent three virtuosos and what they can do together. It does, however, give us a great selection of music with a staggering group of guests (Bucky Pizzarelli, Rich Lataielle, and Doug James to name a few). There is no lack of great music on this album. Since each of the three guitarists are so amazing at their craft, it is worth checking out to see what they can do when they spend their time together, as well as their time apart.

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