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I wonder who everyone's 3 favorite jazz guitarists are? Let's only include guitar players that aren't known for playing gypsy jazz, since we talk about the GJ players regularly here. Mine are:
Tal Farlow, Wes Montgomery, George Benson
(had a hard time deciding so putting the three here that are less well known, sorry Wes, Sco, and Kurt).
Django (although he's the spiritual father of Gypsy Jazz, he himself is a jazz player)
Django, Wes Montgomery, Joao Gilberto
Pat Martino and two other guys.
The two whose records have been in heaviest rotation for several decades hereabouts are Bucky Pizzarelli and George Barnes, partly because they played with so many other musicians I love--Grappelli, Venuti, Zoot Sims, Tony Bennett, each other. . . . Then it's Freddie Green, driving the various Basie units. (Though I also love picking Steve Jordan, Allan Reus, or Al Casey out of a rhythm section.)
And I really should mention my one-time teacher (but don't blame him for that) Steve Abshire, who retired from the Navy big band, the Commodores, and still gigs around the DC area. Look him up on YouTube. Better yet, watch this:
Choosing only 3 is hard work, so I concentrate on votes because of "unusual" instruments:
Charlie Byrd, who played a classical guitar.
Earl Klugh, who does that too.
Ted Greene, who mostly played a Tele and said something like "a decent person plays neck pickup" (I only know the german translation: "Ein anständiger Mensch spielt Halspickup.")
Johnny Smith, George Barnes, Hank Garland