There’s something about classical guitar that just blows me away. The classical world’s version of shred is so technically mind-boggling and gorgeously rendered at the same time. And Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin is truly a master of this genre.
Isbin’s been an acclaimed performer for many years, but it’s her new album that elevates classical guitar to a whole new level. On Sharon Isbin & Friends: Guitar Passions, available on Sony Records today, August 30, Isbin collaborates with a cadre of diverse guitar virtuosos such as Steve Vai, Stanley Jordan, Steve Morse and Nancy Wilson. She masterfully captures what’s unique about each performer’s personality and style and melds it into a new guitarified creation.
“I’m paying tribute to my guitar heroes,” Isbin says. “These are artists whom I admire greatly, who are also heroes in their own realms.”
Isbin’s team of collaborators is a perfect match for the Latin American flair that resonates throughout the album. Vai improvises on "La Catedral," written by Paraguayan composer Agustin Barrios Mangore. Stanley Jordan shows off his jazz chops in "Sonidos de aquel dia," composed by Argentinean Quique Sinesi. Drawing on influences from countries including Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Colombia and Spain, Isbin eloquently incorporates Latin flavors in each song of the album.
Her rendition of "Dreamboat Annie" with Heart’s very own Nancy Wilson unexpectedly showcases some Latin tang. Isbin explains, “We put in a little bossa nova instrumental at the end to make it part of the whole instead of the exception!”
Most impressively, seven of the 11 titles are premiere recordings. Isbin profoundly appreciates the masterpiece album she has created with her friends. “It’s only when I step back afterwards that I can say, ‘Ah! That’s why it happened!’ It’s our passion for the guitar and musical discovery that has brought us all together.”
Catch a video preview of Sharon Isbin’s Guitar Passions with bits featuring Vai, Jordan and more:
Laura B. Whitmore is a singer/songwriter based in the San Francisco bay area. A veteran music industry marketer, she has spent over two decades doing marketing, PR and artist relations for several guitar-related brands including Marshall and VOX. Her company, Mad Sun Marketing, represents 65amps, Acoustic Bass Amps, Agile Partners, Guitar World and many more. Laura was instrumental in the launch of the Guitar World Lick of the Day app. She is the lead singer for the rock band Summer Music Project. More at mad-sun.com.