This week, I decided to go with some instrumentals this week. I had a few problems because I told myself that I would select no more than two songs from any one artists (I don't have as much instrumental only music). But by the same token, it opens up some other genres that I have been moving into a bit more. So enjoy this list.
"Storm" by Vanessa Mae. A violin virtuoso who plays regular classical and crossover classical on different albums. This song is a crossover that is pretty solid musically.
"Acoustic Curves" by Animusic. Saw this song and video on PBS a few years ago and was enthralled. This is not animation set to music, it is music that drives the animation. Check them out here.
"Vein Melter" by Herbie Hancock. What can you say about the man and the album ("Headhunters") that changed the face and sound of jazz. Mellow groove and brilliant writing.
"Flatbush and Church Revisited" by Vernon Reid & Masque. Living Colour's guitarist Reid's "side project" shows that Reid is not just about the gravelly guitar work that made Living Colour great, but that he can play with so many different styles. This song is brilliant, clean and demonstrates that that Reid is one of the most underrated guitarists around.
"Kashmir" by Bond. Say what you will about Bond, a manufactuered classical string quartet who makes dance music (and look good while doing it), any classical quartet that takes on a Led Zeppelin classic is brilliant.
"Baluchitherium" by Van Halen. Most Van Halen instrumentals are usually Eddie Van Halen and his guitar but this one is definitely a song to hear. Eddie is brilliant on the guitar and the rhythm section of Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony show why they are among the best.
"Zap (Live)" by Eric Johnson. Unless you follow guitarists, you might not know about Johnson, but his guitar work is distinclty influenced by his Texas roots and is certainly clean. This live cut is from a tour he did with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai.
"Wormhole Wizards" by Joe Satriani. This is my favorite track from Satriani's most recent album, Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards. This is classic Satriani, a song with great guitar work, but the album is working in other instruments a bit more.
"Reel Around the Sun" by 12 Girls Band. This group of 13 women (only 12 are on stage at one time) playing traditional Chinese instruments take on a classic song from "Riverdance" and make it work so well.
"Answers (Live)" by Steve Vai. One of the most creative and ambitious guitarists around, Vai makes one of his older songs very fresh in a live setting.
"YYZ (Live)" by Rush. Behind Neal Peart's lyrics, it might be hard to forget that the Canadian trio are also fantastic musicians. This instrumental from "Moving Pictures" really solidified my liking of the band (which got better as Geddy Lee stopped trying to shout/sing and just sing in a more natural range for him).
"Highly Strung" by Orianthi. Steve Vai makes another appearance on this list, teaming with the young Australian woman who has impressed Vai, Carlos Santana and Michael Jackson (Orianthi was hired to be Jackson's guitarist on the King of Pop's tour that didn't happen). Technically sound, lots of fun and proves that Orianthi is not just a hot guitarist, but a guitarist who happens to be hot (and can sing).
"Banana Mango 2" by Joe Satriani. This is my second cut from Satriani (of my limit of two). This piece includes some really fun rhythm and drums in addition to some brilliant technique from Satriani.
"Fuego" by Bond. I love this song and like the Spanish influence.
"Cathedral" by Van Halen. A short technique piece from Van Halen that sounds much more like a viola or cello than a guitar.
"Pipe Dream" by Animusic. A much more rhythm/drums piece that if someone could do it live with vibraphones, xylophones and other percussion would be absolutely brilliant.
"Doll" by Keiko Matsui. Another jazz entry, I heard this song at the movie theater in the pre-show entertainment. I thought it a fantastic piece and got me interested in Mastui. There are many other much better songs by Matsui, but I will never forget this one.
"Lily Was Here (DNA Remix" by Candy Dulfer. I love the interplay of saxophone and guitar in this jazz piece.
"Home Blues" by The 5 Browns. This classical piece contains a guest appearance by Chris Botti and just mesmerizes me. I just love this piece.