Django Rheinhart, of course, Charlie Byrd, Laurindo Almeda, Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, Wes Montgomery, early George Benson. For the new generation it is really hard to beat the oft-overlooked Kurt Rosenwinkel. Try his album, "The Next Step" on Verve CD. Mark Turner plays sax on this one as well, and is one of the brightest new lights on that instument.
I am not sure this is considered Jazz, but if you can, listen to a few clips from California Guitar Trio - Rocks The West, and see if it is to your liking.
I too will be looking into the replies to this question, I prefer guitar "based" Jazz over horn.
Joe Pass lots of chord melody stuff. One of the greats.
Wes Montgomery the undisputed king of jazz guitar. get the earlier stuff
Herb Ellis..some nice swing stuff, especially paired up with Joe pass
Duke Robillard modern player with a solid hold of old school swing. He also does a lot of blues so check what you are getting. After hours swing session is good.
Grant Green, Charlie Christian...old school big band. Charlie was essentialy the father of melodic single line jazz guitar.
Charlie Hunter...new school. He plays melody, bass lines and chords all at the same time on a custom fan fretted 7 strings..scary.
John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Al DiMeola,..very good modern fusion type players
Proper records has a compilation CD "Hittin' On All Six"
that is essentially a history of jazz guitar. It would serve as an excellent intro to various top flight guitarist.
Kudos to Onhwy61. What a neat compilation. I am ordering my copy immediately!
Joe Pass, Barney Kessell, John Carlini (taught Tony Rice), Larry Coryell, John Ambercrombie, Philip Catherine, John McLaughlin
I find a lot of jazz guitar boring. I guess Im not sophosticated enough to appreciate all the subtleties. One old favorite that does comes to mind is "Friends" by Crusaders' guitarist Larry Carlton. Some funky, some blues, all big fun. I have not heard it on cd but on my old vinyl copy the sound is great. Another one that I have really enjoyed is Steve Kahn "Blue Man".
Neither of these releases are the basic guitar trio explorations some people seem to love, but these are a couple of great albums that have gotten a lot of spin time over the years for me.
Thank you all for your input. Some I have hear of, some I own, most are new to me. Great stuff. Keep it coming.
Bldadr brings up an interesting point. While the guitar is, arguably, the preferred solo instrument in rock 'n roll, it is the sax that is used primarily in jazz, with the trumpet coming in second. This would seem to have something to do with the expressive qualities of each instrument. Jazz guitar being somewhat tepid compared to its rock counterparts and to the wailin' sax that we associate so closely with the jazz idiom.
I too find Bldadr's comments interesting; I listened to some clips of the suggestions above and they were not what I was expecting and I don't think they'd be my cup-o-tea either.
Joe Pass is a must, which deos not mean the others should be ingored. Kenny Burrell and Lenny Breau should be added to the list.
Tal Farlow-The Swinging Guitar Of Tal Farlow...Grant Green-Idle Moments...Kenny Burrell-Soulero & Midnight Blue...Mark Whitfield-The Marksman
Obviously, the "jazz guitar" menu covers pretty wide range of flavors. The players listed above should give you alot to chew on, here are a few more:
Fairly conventional (maybe tepid to some):
Jackie King (Moon Magic is great)
Rodney Jones (1st record is a burner, most others are tame)
A little less conventional:
Jack West (Big Ideas)
Peter Wolbrandt (Kraan Live 74)
Guys that can just plain rip yer' head off:
Frank Crijns (Blast)
Pierre Vervloesem (X Legged Sally/ Grosso Modo)
Charlie Christian, of course.
Assuming a more traditional style, and perhaps some lesser known titles from the 'usual suspects':
Wes Montgomery - 'Smokin' at the Half Note' and 'Far Wes'
Lenny Breau - 'Cabin Fever' and 'The Last Sessions'
Tal Farlow - 'The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow' and 'The Return of Tal Farlow'
Gene Bertoncini - 'Body and Soul'
Joe Pass - 'Virtuoso'
Bireli Lagrene - 'Standards'
Tiny Grimes - 'Blues Groove' with Coleman Hawkins
Pat Metheny - 'Bright Size Life'
Hank Garland - 'Move! The Guitar Artistry of Hank Garland'
Pat Martino - 'Footprints'
Jimmy Raney - 'A'
Johnny Smith - 'Moonlight in Vermont' with Stan Getz
Grant Green - 'Idle Moments'
John McLaughlin is certainly expresive and dynamic as was Larry Coryell in his earlier years. Joe Pass is very melodic esp on his solo albums (three of them).
Two truly outstanding Canadian jazz guitarists that are up there with the best: Ed Bickert and Jake Langley. Just purchased Jake Langley's newest release "Diggin Out", a trio session with Joey Defrancesco on Hammond B3 and Terry Clarke on drums: this guy can play!
OK,OK, no one has mentioned Lee Ritehour..."Captain Fingers" is a classic I should have not forgotten...Wow you got some great responses. Think I will be sampling some of these suggestions...
Another contemporary artist is Anthony Wilson. Also, for Latin Jazz check out Compay Segundo and Eliades Ochoa.
grant green and kenny burrell are favorites. i have also recently purchased the great guitars which features charlie byrd, heb ellis and barney kessel. it is pretty good but the origional concord recoring featuring joe pass and herb ellis is superb.
Pick up the March issue of Jazziz, it's about jazz guitar
and the sampler CD has tracks from:
Lee Ritenour "Captain Fingers"
OverTime (DVD) (VAI)
Pat Metheny Group "Excerpt from Part One of The Way Up"
The Way Up (Nonesuch)
Bill Connors "Terrabill Blues"
Return (Tone Center)
Chris Cortez "My Way is Better"
Mum is the Word (Blue Bamboo Music)
Russ Freeman & David Benoit "Palmetto Park"
The Benoit/Freeman Project 2 (Peak Records)
Jason Moran w/ Marvin Sewell "Jump Up"
Same Mother (Blue Note Records)
John Pizzarelli "The First Hint of Autumn"
Knowing You (Telarc)
Sylvain Luc "A Child is Born"
Ambre (Solo) (Dreyfus Jazz)
Kurt Rosenwinkel "Brooklyn Sometimes"
Deep Song (Verve Records)
Bireli Lagrene and Gipsy Project "Un Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi"
Move (Dreyfus Jazz)
Raúl Midón "Waited All My Life"
State of Mind (Manhattan Records)
Two Siberians "Outpost Radio"
Out of Nowhere (Heads Up)
Scott Henderson "Xanax"
Live (Tone Center)
The Gregory James Band "Irené"
Come To Me (Rogue Records)
The Nels Cline Singers "Fly Fly"
The Giant Pin (Cryptogramophone)
Yosuke Omuma - Summer Madness (Sony SACD?/CD), contemporary and excellent sound quality recording.
Yosuke Onuma - Summer Madness (Sony SACD?/CD), contemporary and excellent sound quality recording.
I love it when Duane goes off like that! (Mostly 'cause I've never heard of more than half the people he mentions...)
The above responses cover most of the available territory (except I don't think anyone said Jim Hall), so I'll just toss in an iconoclastic statement for the hell of it: I'm a guitar player, though I'm nowhere near good enough to really play jazz. But, with a few exceptions that might 'prove the rule' as they say (Django, Wes), IMO the guitar is essentially an inferior solo instrument for jazz in most respects. I mean this as compared to horns and piano.
Don't get me wrong - I like and listen to plenty of jazz guitar, being a guitar player myself and a jazz lover generally. But I don't think that the guitar is as expressive or unlimited a single-note solo instrument as are horns, nor is it as versatile or complete a chordal-solo instrument as is the piano. I also think the guitar is compromised by its shortcomings as an acoustic instrument (sustain, volume) in the context of trap sets and horns, where its inability to compete has meant a practical resort to electrification which doesn't always suit the pre-fusion music I like best.
I find even the most enjoyable and virturostic jazz guitarists not to be as emotionally expressive soloists - not to *say* as much - within the traditional swing and bop contexts compared to horns or piano, and I'm not a big fan of the post-rock electric jazz to which the electric guitar is naturally better suited (that means I don't prefer electric bass or keys either). I don't mind the acoustic guitar as a rhythm section instrument, its traditional role, and one it still fills fairly well in electrified form but for its incongruousness within an otherwise all-acoustic group setting. And I do like the sound of the standard electric hollowbody archtop through a small amp that graced so many recordings of the 50's and 60's (as long as it's not excessively compressed), but only infrequently do I find the music played through this setup rises to the level of artistic profundity horns and piano are more often capable of evincing. (I could also say the same about most Hammond organ jazz, the format a lot of electric jazz guitar has been featured in.)
Electric guitar is of course wonderfully well-suited to playing city blues and rock and roll. In straight-ahead jazz, if one wants to avoid cliches, mere mechanical virtuosity, or simply sticking close by blues roots, one of the most productive approaches seems to be downplaying the instrument's shortcomings in sustain, volume, and flexibility of single-note line, by turning them into strengths rooted its Spanish and fingerpicked heritage as a polyphonic supporting instrument capable of subtleties of touch, tone, pitch, and percussive effect different from what can be accomplished on the piano.
Zaikesman - interesting commentary. I don't wish to challenge anything you say, however I find that some artists are capable of providing a sound much more embodied than typical. Although probably not considered mainstream or traditional 'jazz' guitarists, Tuck Andress and Michael Hedges are very percussive in their playing and certainly provide a more embodied sound in their solo endeavors. As a guitarist myself, I am often fascinated by the fact that they are playing solo and recording a single track at times. You mention the Hammond organ as well. Jimmy Smith simultaneously utilized his foot pedals to perform bass lines that sounded as if there were a standup player jamming next to him. In short, artists that are/were capable of providing huge sound when soloing.
Slothman: I am a Jimmy Smith fan, though I don't think for a minute that as a soloist, he is an artist on the level of expressiveness of the best-loved horn or even piano players. Andress and Hedges are certainly identifiable and accomplished guitarists, though neither (and particularly Hedges, especially from a sonic standpoint) makes music that is my cup of tea aesthetically. But personal preferences aside, I concede what I think is your main point - that the guitar is an instrument which, in the right hands, can combine elements of single-note melody with both chordal and contrapuntal accompaniment to make a panoramic and rhythmic whole. The primary thrust of my comments was that there are reasons related to the instrument itself why jazz guitarists are not, as a catagory, thought of in quite the same high artistic regard or stylistic significance as horn and piano players.
I am the polar opposite of Zaikesman regarding his comments about the limited expressiveness or significance of the guitar compared to the horn or piano. I agree that there are more great horn players than great guitarist, but that's because there are more horn players (good and bad) than any other instrument. I also agree that the guitar can't compete with a piano as far as producing multiple musical lines simultaneously, but then again what other instrument can? So I guess I agree that the standard guitar (six strings covering 4 octaves) has certain design limitations, but that makes no nevermind when the instrument is in the hands of a great artist. The fact is a number, albeit small, of guitarist have attained the stylistic significance and are held in as high regard as any horn or piano player (of course excepting Louis Armstrong - he is the king). Two examples, Charlie Christian and John McLaughlin. Billie Holiday said that Charlie (an ex-piano player) would play all night, never play the same thing twice and every note would swing. The only other musician she ever raved about like that was Lester Young. Mr. Christian was also there at the birth of be-bop and was said to have influenced Monk and Diz. Miles Davis is generally considered a pretty good judge of talent and when Dave Holland brought McLaughlin to the "In A Silent Way" session it's reported that Davis was blown away. On later Davis albums there are tracks titled "John McLaughlin" and "Go Ahead John". The only other musician so honored by Mr. Davis was John Coltrane ("Trane's Blues"). So here you have two musicians who as guitar players who appear to be held in as high artistic regard by other musicians as any horn or piano player.
Just my opinion. BTW, I've owned guitars for 30 years, but I would hesitate to call myself a player.
As Zaikesman was saying, instruments have limitations/strenghts and weaknesses. A violin can sustain a single note with a hint of vibrato that can make you weep, a piano is just not capable of doing this, with the piano it's a case of play a note and your off and running but it gives you more harmonic complexity than available to any other instrument. Brass and reed are capable of great dynamic flexibilty and are (generally) easier to play ripping long quick arpeggios which make it very flexible and expressive for single note soloing. The guitar is not quite as strong as any of these instruments in thier individual strenghts and has until recent times had been considered an inferior instrument, but it emodies all the essential elements to make it arguably the most beautiful and flexible instrument (and difficult to play).
Since the advent of electricty the guitar has begun evolving at an unprecedented rate and we should consider ourselves fortunate to be living at a time when this is happening. When will the next Segovia/Christian/Hendrix come along? It used to be a saxaphone sitting in most peoples homes but nowadays it has been replaced by the guitar which is now played by more people than any other instrument.
Segovia said the guitar was the instrument of the angels, I for one agree but does this make it the strongest instrument for all styles of music?
All valid takes IMO. I do think Rockethouse is probably correct that guitar is the most-played instrument, but Onhwy61 could also be correct that all types of horns put together (or even just those commonly used in jazz) exceed it. I would also note that his examples of Christian and McLaughlin are, at least in the context that he brings them up, electric guitarists. It is my contention that this necessity of resorting to electrification is a part of what makes the guitar a second-tier instrument for jazz.
I completely agree that in a jazz combo setting an acoustic guitar is limited. BTW, I would argue that the human voice is by far the most expressive jazz instrument.