From straight-ahead jazz to bop to fusion, the six-string wizards on this Jazz Guitar Greats playlist will wow you with their technical virtuosity and fluid improvisations.
1. Pat Metheny is often credited for revitalizing the clean sparkling sound of traditional jazz guitar.
2. Tal Farlow was nicknamed "Octopus" because of the size of his hands, and that trait helped him create a new, modernized approach to the guitar in the 1950s. "My Romance" showcases his chordal mastery, contrapuntal use of basslines against melody, and some signature false harmonics.
3. Joe Pass was taking audience requests when someone suggested Coltrane's "Giant Steps." You can hear more Pass performances and humorous memories of his master guitar classes at the Great American Music Hall here:
4. Gabor Szabo begins with shimmering arpeggios and open string chord voicings here, before sweetly soloing when the band enters. He's joined by Jimmy Stewart on nylon string guitar, who contributes to a gypsy feel.
5. Buzz Feiten replaced Elvin Bishop in the Butterfield Blues Band, then teamed up with Neil Larsen on a few fusion projects in the '70s, while also being an in-demand session musician. He comes in at the 2-minute mark here.
6. George Benson was in the midst of becoming a more accessible guitar star in 1969. "Footin' It" is a funky boogaloo that acts as an easy-grooving showcase for some soulful playing.
7. Charlie Hunter has been playing both traditional and far out jazz for over 20 years, and he always delivers a soul satisfying sound uniquely his own.
8. Bucky Pizzarelli treated the crowd at a Zoot Sims concert to a solo Django Reinhardt medley. The low B-string on his 7-string guitar lends a rich, low-end presence to his virtuosic interpretation.
9. Kenny Burrell's sound is based in bop and blues; he was in top form on this crisply swinging rendition of "Out of this World."