Jostein Gulbrandsen – 5 Desert Island Album Picks

Regardless if you’re a beginning student of Jazz Guitar or an established player, we all have at least five albums that we cannot be without! With that said, Jazz Guitar Life has asked Jazz Guitarist Jostein Gulbrandsen what his five would be (assuming that he knew before hand that he was going to be stuck on a desert island and that said island had electricity and a full component stereo system) 🙂

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1) Pat Metheny Group – The Road to You: Metheny’s solo on the first track of this live album, “Have you heard”,  was what made me hooked on jazz guitar. I still remember the moment when I listened to it for the first time. The rest of the album is incredible as well, amazing compositions and solos throughout. Tasteful nylon string work on the title cut “The Road to you”,  sitar type sounds, screaming synth guitar, blazing latin grooves and the dazzling solo break on “Third Wind” are among the highlights.

2) Metheny/Scofield – I Can See Your House From Here: This album had a huge impact on me.  I remember learning the last tune “You speak my language” which is a cool Bb Blues written by Sco. Great tunes, solos and vibe throughout. Steve Swallow and Bill Stewart provide a great rhythm section which is a perfect springboard for the blend of Metheny and Scofield.

3) John Abercrombie – Current Events: This ECM album was recorded in my native Norway and released in 1986. The interplay between Abercrombie, Marc Johnson and Peter Erskine is amazing. Great balance with synth guitars, acoustic steel string and regular electric guitar sounds provide nice textures that enhance Abercrombie’s compositions. The standard “Alice in Wonderland” is a highlight. Marc Johnson’s bass solo on that track is one of my favorites of all time. The last song “Still” is another favorite.

4) Jim Hall/Bill Evans – Undercurrent: This is one of those albums which I wouldn’t want to change a single note. You feel like you need to listen carefully, if not you might miss something really important. The medium/up version of “I hear a rhapsody”, is a high light as well as “Skating in Central Park” where I literally picture people skating at a relaxed pace when I hear the song. Jim Hall’s guitar sound here is perhaps my favorite jazz guitar sound of all times. I prefer the sound of his 175 when it had the single P90 and when he was using the Gibson tube amps. Such a warm, round and organic guitar sound. Just perfect.

5) Ralph Towner – Solo Concert: Great solo live album released on ECM in 1979. The first track “Spirit Lake” is a haunting piece played on his 12-string guitar. I remember listening to it while driving through some mountains in Norway. His take on John Abercrombie’s “Ralph’s Piano Waltz” (Written for Ralph Towner when Abercrombie was house sitting for him” display Towner’s beautiful nylon string work. “Nardis” and “Timeless” are other highlights.

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