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Concord Jazz Guitar Collective

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Album Review

The Concord Jazz Guitar Collective was a 1995 project that united Howard Alden with fellow guitarists and Concord artists Jimmy Bruno and Frank Vignola. For Concord, a three-guitar date was hardly unprecedented; back in 1974, the label had brought Barney Kessel, Charlie Byrd, and Herb Ellis together as the Great Guitars. Despite the fact that they all play the same instrument, Alden, Bruno, and Vignola prove compatible on this outing, which also employs Jim Hughart on upright bass and Colin Bailey on drums. Although Bruno tends to be more aggressive and forceful than Alden, he can be quite lyrical when he wants to; and while Alden isn't as hard a player as Bruno, he definitely swings. The two have a strong rapport on uptempo numbers like Charlie Parker's "Ornithology," Sam Jones' "Bittersweet," and Benny Goodman's "Seven Come Eleven," as well as on more relaxed performances like Django Reinhardt's "Song D'Autumne" and the standard "Body and Soul." Vignola, meanwhile, also proves to be an asset. Though not all of his 1990s output for Concord was memorable, he's a talented guitarist; and on Concord Jazz Guitar Collective, the presence of Alden and Bruno encourages Vignola to work hard and put that talent to use instead of wasting it. This is a CD that lovers of hard-bop guitar playing will appreciate.


Born: 17 October 1958 in Newport Beach, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s

Part of the '80s swing movement, Howard Alden is a brilliant guitarist (on both electric and acoustic) who has also mastered the seven-string guitar and the banjo. Alden started off playing banjo in Dixieland bands in pizza parlors in Southern California. When he acquired a guitar, he took lessons from Jimmy Wyble and Howard Roberts. He worked at Disneyland when he was 18 and in 1978 debuted in the big leagues with Red Norvo. Since moving to New York in 1982, Alden has worked with many great veterans...
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Concord Jazz Guitar Collective, Howard Alden
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