As filmed in November 2006, the music release Al Di Meola: Speak a Volcano - Return to Electric Guitar finds jazz-rock musician Di Meola onstage before a live audience in Leverkusen, Germany, in an electric guitar set accompanied by drummer Gumbi Ortiz. Here, Di Meola performs thirteen tracks including "Hypnose," "Red Moon" and "Azzura."
Guitarist Johnny Whitehill has been a fixture on the British blues scene since the 1970s, emerging as a star while a member of the Blues Burglars, the band he formed with harpist Paul Lamb in the early '80s. As a guitarist, his inspirations and influences came from the likes of B.B. King, Freddie King, Albert King, T-Bone Walker, Albert Collins, Robert Johnson, Blind Boy Fuller, Lightnin' Hopkins, et al., and, later on, fellow British bluesman Peter Green, among others. He has recorded albums of his own intermittently, amid two decades working mostly with Paul Lamb & the King Snakes – the successor band to the Blues Burglars – and since the opening of the 21st century has toured England with his own group, Johnny Whitehill's Real Deal.
Chet Atkins earned and held the title of "Mr. Guitar" for 50 years before passing away in the summer of 2001. Signed to RCA in 1947, he would help define the "Nashville Sound" in the late '50s while simultaneously releasing a steady string of instrumental albums. RCA Country Legends captures Atkins on 14 wonderful tracks recorded between 1949 and 1976. Atkins recorded the self-penned single "Barber Shop Rag" with mandolinist Jethro Burns and guitarist Homer Haynes. Burns' speedy runs work as a nice counterpoint, and bring out equally inspired work from Atkins. Curiously, Atkins and his buddies even add vocals on an infectious cut titled "Boogie Man Boogie." There's a nice duet with writer and fellow guitar picker Jerry Reed on "Twitchy," and a spunky take on "Tiger Rag" worthy of Django Reinhardt. There are also a number of solo pieces, including "Petite Waltz," "Yes Ma'am," and the closer, "Liza." These cuts capture a quintessential Atkins, just a man and his guitar, handling the rhythm and lead without blinking.
In the mid-'50s, guitarist Tal Farlow led one of his finest groups, a drumless trio with pianist Eddie Costa and bassist Vinnie Burke. The same band would record the album Tal a week or two later. With Burke contributing a constant walking bass, the interplay between Farlow and Costa is always exciting, whether they are playing unisons or trading off. This 1999 CD reissue not only has the original seven selections but "Gone With the Wind" (which was left off of the original LP due to lack of space) plus three full-length alternate takes that are basically on the same level as the masters. Among the highpoints are "Taking a Chance on Love," "Yardbird Suite," "Like Someone in Love," and Farlow's lone original, "Meteor," which utilizes the chord changes of "Confirmation." Hot bebop that is easily recommended.