Guitars Unlimited

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This French modern jazz ensemble revives not only a style of swinging guitar music that could practically be nationalized but a bandname itself from within that tradition. Perhaps referencing the late…
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This French modern jazz ensemble revives not only a style of swinging guitar music that could practically be nationalized but a bandname itself from within that tradition. Perhaps referencing the late '60s Guitars Unlimited studio ensemble that created the posthumous Django Reinhardt collaboration entitled Swinging Lightly is part of the idea, but jazz fans who look to a group's name as a singular form of identification may wind up scratching their heads over the whole idea of Guitars Unlimited. There is the previously mentioned recording from 1968, but that's just the beginning. There is also the '60s studio guitar group from Los Angeles, which created a whole series of albums under the Guitar Unlimited name, although this group's repertoire leaned toward "House of the Rising Sun" rather than "Nuages." There is also a Swedish guitar duo that calls itself Guitars Unlimited, the members of which play bebop jazz guitar with enough dexterity to be left the last ones standing in any guitar gunfight. Mais non non, all of that wasn't enough for guitarist Raymond Gimenes, whose obsession with seeing many guitar cases piled up in his foyer led him to form this particular aggregation in 1996. Maybe he could have called it the Beatles and it wouldn't have mattered, the jazz eaters of the world seem to have an unlimited appetite for this style, in which one guitarist solos at 400-miles-per-hour while the others chop chords in perfect syncopated time. Keeping an ensemble of this size together is hardly an issue. With this many seats on-stage, nobody is going to notice if some of the occupants change from time to time. The generous supply of skilled jazz musicians in the Paris area alone makes creating a quorum for this type of activity hardly an obstacle.