1 Pat Metheny Extraordinary achievements down through the decades whether on world tours with the Pat Metheny Group, his own innovations (for instance the pioneering use of guitar synthesizer and his own 'robot' Orchestrion) or with such icons of free music as Ornette Coleman and Derek Bailey and in his interpretations of the music of John Zorn, the Missourian continues a story picked up by Charlie Christian and continued by Wes Montgomery in terms of innovation, new dialects and vocabulary, sheer virtuosity and joy in performance.
2 George Benson. The ultimate communicator.
3 John Scofield. A bluesician at heart.
4 John McLaughlin. Into the mystic: IndoJazz innovator.
5 Carlos Santana. Latin-jazz and rock master.
6 Kenny Burrell. Made history with Jimmy Smith.
7 Bill Frisell. Guitar everyman. Americana and freebop distilled.
8 Terje Rypdal. Prog jazz exemplar and icon.
9 Lionel Loueke: Afrojazz innovator.
10 Eivind Aarset: Scandi futurejazz innovator
11 Mary Halvorson: Avant, post Derek Bailey, icon
12 Russell Malone Mainstream accompanist par excellence
13 Kurt Rosenwinkel Consummate skill coming out of the heart of jazz
14 Julian Lage: Now in his prime: can cover anything
15 Marc Ribot: From Tom Waits to Ayler can do it all
16 Phil Robson
17 Mike Stern
18 Mike Walker: north of England legend. Stylistically unique
19 Wolfgang Muthspiel: sublime chamber jazz practitioner and more
20 Kevin Eubanks: knows how to reach the heart of the matter and communicate
Kristian Borring, Urban Novel, Jellymould Jazz ***1/2
From Denmark, an above-the-radar part of the UK jazz scene for some time now on the club circuit since the guitarist moved to London just under a decade ago releasing debut album Nausicaa along the way, Kristian Borring combines here often tenderly and always thoughtfully with vibist Jim Hart, pianist Arthur Lea, bassist Mick Coady, and drummer Jon Scott. Recording these eight compositions of Borring’s at a London studio in late-2012, many of which owe much to Borring’s Metheny-like version of American pastoralism, the ensemble sound operates via quintet, quartet, or even with Lea and Hart (the latter an imaginary Gary Burton to Borring’s Metheny) dipping out on ‘Arcade Coffee Shop’, a certain persuasive intimacy opening up as the band becomes a pared down guitar trio yet retaining that atmosphere irrespective of setting. Inspired by Borring’s sense of the city, Urban Novel’s narrative is less stream-of-conscious outpouring than guitarist as acute naturalistic observer, the acoustic jazz language at this fine player’s disposal impressionistic and quite romantic at heart. The tunes though complex knit well together and there is a convincing clarity to the improvising thought processes at work that represents a strong statement of intent from an artist we’ll be hearing a lot more from with any luck in the future. SG Released on Monday 2 June