Got that? Well, thats what you get when you include fingerstyle master Leo Kottke, and Traverse Citys own Jeff Bihlman from the Bihlman Brothers/Son Seals Band and Kenny Olson of The Flask. Then theres Howard Alden, whos played on albums by a whos who of jazz musicians but is perhaps most notable for being the musician behind Sean Penns leading role in Woody Allens Sweet and Lowdown.
As was the case last year, the series is split into three nights, with days given over to classes for guitar students. The shows will be held each night at Corson Auditorium at 8 p.m.
The first nights show on Thursday, Aug. 23, features Kottke, who has been enthralling audiences and dumfounding other guitarists since the late 60s. His breathtaking technique and unusual tunings on the guitar have earned him a cult following since his 1971 disc 6 and 12-String Guitar on fellow guitarist John Faheys Tacoma label.
Kotke entered a folk phase shortly thereafter, even including vocals. After signing with the Private Music label, his work was labeled New Age, though mostly it was and continues to be Leo Kottke music.
Kottkes rich imagination and fluid fingerstylings have enabled him to play with a host of other musicians, including his mentor John Fahey, Chet Atkins, Lyle Lovett and Rickie Lee Jones. He has recorded tunes by the likes of country legends Tom T. Hall and Johnny Cash, rockers Fleetwood Mac, The Byrds and Jefferson Airplanes Jorma Kuakonen, and jazz band leader Carla Bley. Hes done two albums with Phish bassist Mike Gordon, and is a frequent guest on the radio show, A Prairie Home Companion.
ALL THAT JAZZ (& CLASSICAL)
The second night of the show on Friday, Aug. 24 emphasizes classical and jazz, and features classical guitarists Jason Vieaux and Martha Masters, followed by jazz masters Gene Bertoncini, Howard Alden and Lee Dyament with Emre Yilmaz.
Alden may well be the best of the lot, though the humble musician probably would never suggest that. But consider; hes worked with Ruby Braff, Joe Williams, Woody Herman, and Dizzy Gillespie among many others. Hes made soundtracks, played in large bands, quartets, guitar trios and duos, and perhaps most demandingly, as a solo artist. Through it all his dazzling style remains understated and enjoyable.
Sometime too much so. While his music always sounds fully realized, his egoless solo style could be amped up considerably without losing its musicality, but Alden prefers to say things simply. His undeniable technique often translates better into live performance.
For Woody Allens Sweet and Lowdown, Alden even gave the notoriously prickly Sean Penn guitar lessons, spending six months working with him. Alden gave Penn, the student, high marks, but it was Aldens playing on the soundtrack that received accolades.
Saturday, Aug. 25, the last night of the series, focuses on Hot Rock and Blues, with Kenny Olson, Jeff Bihlman, and John Defaria (guitarist for Gloria Estefan and Kenny Loggins) joining with rising stars Stoll Vaughan and Pablo Signori, as well as Interlochens own John Wunsch, who put the series together.
Wunsch noted that producing, coordinating and performing at the event is a challenge, but one that he finds very satisfying. Its exhausting, but its really great, he said. Jeff Bihlman, Kenny Olson and I have been rehearsing, and I think were going to have some pretty cool stuff.
Much the same could be said for any of the nights. For ticket information, contact the Interlochen Box Office at 276-7800.