ARTISTS FOR CHARITY Guitarists 4 The Kids SPI 0001(2006)
I'm all in favour of cause related marketing and Steve Lang's CD raises funds for World Vision, a leading charity in child sponsorship and emergency aid.
Steve has assembled a rather eclectic range of fret melters, with a mixture of the well-known and the more obscure.
The trick with a compilation like this is to attract the unusual or previously unavailable tracks from the better known acts, in spite of licensing complexity, and introduce the punter to the less-familiar for further exploration. Lang has definitely succeeded in the latter.
Only one of the tracks is unique to this collection, but the album does pull together a variety of genres and evidently assembled by a guy who is passionate about guitar music. From world music flavours (Pierre Bensusan), jazz fusion to R&B/funk (Steve Salas, Mattias 'IA' Eklundh), to the ambient (Robert Fripp).
The only slip up here, as far as I can make out, is the inclusion of a 16-minute track by Steve Lukather. Now if this is designed to pull in the Lukather fanbase, fair play, but it is eastern jazz fusion-flavoured, and frankly somewhat boring. The track length is also glaringly disproportionate.
It's the lesser-known players or bands who turn up trumps: from the indie rock of DramaGods (featuring Nuno Bettencourt), to the flamenco guitars of Ottmar Liebert and Johannes Linstead, and the funky jazz fusion of Mattias "IA" Eklundh.
If twiddly-diddly, sweeps and taps are your bag you will be more than happy (and that's just after the first track). It's a good cause and deserves wider patronage, not just aspiring guitar heroes.