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Bebop Spoken There

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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

CD Review: Julphan Tilapornputt - Regards to You

Julphan Tilapornputt (guitar), Joe Wagner (tenor sax). Jeong Hwan Park (bass), Ken Ychicawa (drums).
(Review by Steve T)
As a local guitar teacher said to me recently, everybody's a virtuoso nowadays. Julphan is one such guitarist. Originally from Thailand and now resident in New York, he's had an impressive education including a scholarship at Berklee.
However, any new guitarist who wants to make a difference within the Wes Metheny legacy needs to be a writer comparable with Stravinsky, Cole Porter, Duke or Curtis Mayfield.
The alternative is perhaps even more difficult, to create something entirely new when it appears that every possible permeation has been tried.

Within capitalism, innovation, genuine or assumed, is always attributed to genius, genuine (insomuch as such a thing exists) or assumed, but Bird and Zappa were part of movements, although Zappa ultimately blew the entire competition put together, and Bird was certainly a figurehead and, solely in terms of bebop, maybe did the same.  
Most artists make their creative contribution as part of a movement, chipping away at the status quo. Julphan is one such guitarist. It's a guitar and sax pairing at the front and a piano-less quartet, both formats at the forefront of much contemporary Jazz, though with the guitar you get the best of both worlds.
But what I love about this album is the variety of sounds he achieves with his guitar(s). The album opens and closes with acoustic guitar and the album pictures him playing acoustic, and there's also much of the semi-acoustic sound we've grown accustomed to through countless albums by Wes and Metheny and their followers.
In between he produces sounds which are difficult for these untrained (and now unassisted) ears to pin down. It's more acoustic than Wes but more electric than Earl Klugh, to the point where I don't actually know what he's playing. One idea is that it's a semi-acoustic through an acoustic amp, which a rockabilly guitarist once told me is 'wrong', a word that's always a red rag.   
Wherever it comes from, it brings a freshness to this album lacking in a lot of the many guitar albums that land on Lance’s mat before they get to me whenever we find ourselves at the same venue.
It's Tilapornputt’s second album and it’s already available and well worth a listen, and not just for guitarists.

Steve T.

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