Years ago, I saw a concert by Joe Pass, a virtuoso guitarist, who played solo jazz guitar in a way that left me astounded at how he could play bass, rhythm, and melody on some very complex songs. When he died some years back, I thought there would never be another. But then I discovered Steven King who has duplicated the virtuosity of Pass. King plays jazz standards as well as pop tunes transforming them through complex arrangements that he composes. It’s as if he’s playing the piano, not the guitar.
He studied music in California, sharing the same college music classes with rock guitar legend Eddie Van Halen. But Steven veered away from rock and into jazz, arranging and orchestrating solo fingerstyle guitar while he developed his own unique style. When you hear him play, you’ll understand why he won the National Fingerpicking championship back in 1994 and since then has recorded 22 guitar CDs. Don’t miss his arrangements of Dave Brubeck’s Blue rondo and Joe Zawinul’s hit Birdland. On the latter, he plays Zawinul’s piano and doubles it with Jaco Pastorius’ bass part. Amazing!
Mission Impossible: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFQiFHVqrWQ&feature=related
Scarborough Fair: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYHDQHQDS-4&feature=related
Rhapsody in blue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XzZJ8pIr3M&feature=related
Beatles Medley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Eg7ANgE-o&feature=related
God only knows: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=112AijCKqg4&feature=related
Carol of the Bells: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=julsX5x06os&feature=relmfu
Gotta pair Steven with a great libation to match his guitar playing, so I’m going with a 2004 Michaud Syrah ($22.00). The wine is expressive with aromas of black fruit, violets, and herbs with nicely balanced flavors of cherries, black currents, and peppery spice. It finishes with slightly understated tannins and mocha. It’ll remind you a Northern Rhone Hermitage. A virtuoso wine and guitarist to start your week. Enjoy!