2012 was a tremendous year for progressive guitar music. Here are my favorite releases of the year, in no particular order.
Landau's first instrumental album since 1990's Tales From The Bulge is one of my favorite guitar records in many years, let alone this one. Awesome tones, dynamic playing, deep writing. A must-have for serious guitar geeks.
Krantz took a bold new step with this album, and the results are rich and engrossing. A fantastic production filled with heady writing, and an amazing lineup of musicians.
Awesome follow-up to 2008's Lifeboat. Highly textured with killer playing and grooves.
Adventurous and dynamic with a great variety of guitar tones. Further proof that Machacek is among the most forward-thinking modern jazz composers of his generation.
Can't get enough of this one. Uber-deep jazz record, filled with great writing and improvisation.
Funky, energetic live release with killer guitar work from Jeff Kollman. Nobody grooves like the Meatbats.
Stellar recording from the OHM-meets-Umphrey's McGee supergroup. Loaded with great riffs and playing. Everybody shines here, but the twin guitar attack of Chris Poland and Jake Cinninger is particularly awesome.
What a band. Killer disc packed with guitar-driven trio versions of fusion classics. Henderson is amazing as always.
A 3-disc smorgasbord from keyboardist/composer David Garfield's classic west coast jazz band. Features a who's-who of the genre's luminaries, including Michael Landau.
Amazing live CD/DVD release with insane playing and band interplay. Guthrie Govan's guitar work is both musical and mind-blowing.
Other favorites from 2012:
Prashant Aswani - Visions
Chris Poland, Frank Catalano, Sean O'Bryan Smith, Jim Gifford - Polcat
Tribal Tech - X
Tohpati Bertiga - Riot
John McLaughlin & the 4th Dimension - Now Here This
Paul Gilbert - Vibrato
Gary Husband - Dirty & Beautiful, Vol. 2
OHM - Tsunami Jams
Ed DeGenaro - Holiday In Madras
Chad Wackerman - Dreams, Nightmares and Improvisations
Chris Buck - 3 Crows
Jason Sadites - Broken
Renegade Creation - Bullet
Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day
Van Halen - A Different Kind of Truth (Ed note: \m/)