Some of My Best Friends are…Guitarists is most effective in presenting the different personalities of guitarists with fairly different approaches. John Pizzarelli’s sweet nature is highlighted on “Squeeze Me” and “Tangerine,” while Russell Malone’s melodic invention populates “Heartstrings” and “Little Darlin.” Herb Ellis is half-ballads and half blues on “I Want to Be Happy” and the specifically penned “Blues For Junior”. Kenny Burrell turns in a swinging “Fly Me to The Moon” and a sincere tribute to the late Billy Higgins, “Soulful Spirit.” Most compelling is the 44-year-old Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius, exuding a muscular intelligence and invention that gives the current recording a decidedly contemporary personality. Wakenius’s own “Blues for Ray” is a Hard Bop clinic with its jagged head and serpentine solos. Rounding out the festivities are Brown’s current trio of Geoff Keezer and Karriem Riggins, who perform as one would expect, superbly.
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