Watch Steve Vai shred on command for Jacob Collier as the pair work on Whammy-laden collaborative track

Jacob Collier and Steve Vai
(Image credit: Jacob Collier/Instagram)

As one of today’s most prolific multi-instrumentalists and outstanding musical minds, Jacob Collier has an especially enviable list of collaborators that stretches into the world of guitar.

His most recent six-string guest star was John Mayer, who treated Collier’s Never Gonna Be Alone to nearly one minute of soloing, with the pair later teaming up with Lizzy McAlpine to perform the song at LA’s Troubadour.

Beyond Mayer, Collier has also worked with Lianne La Havas and Steve Vai – and now it's been confirmed that the latter will be reigniting his relationship with Collier for the singer-songwriter’s upcoming album, Djesse Vol. 4.

Having already featured on Djesse Vol. 2 – on a track titled Do You Feel Love – Vai returns to Collier’s brain-busting sonic universe for yet another visit, and judging by a recent Instagram post, it’s set to be just as virtuosic as his first.

Among a handful of behind-the-scenes videos published by Collier, Vai could be seen in the studio armed with his black Ibanez PIA signature guitar and flanked by his pedalboard, which saw plenty of action throughout the short clip.

Specifically, it sounds as though Vai will lean heavily on his DigiTech Whammy DT pedal for the cameo, with the footage showcasing some none-more-Vai fretboard noodling super-charged by some wild pitch shifts.

With some directorial prompts from Collier – who watches on in awe as he pushes Vai to explore some pentatonic and scalic flavors – Vai navigates the fretboard with his usual ease, drafting in numerous note combinations to fit Collier’s ideas.

Though it’s a mere snippet of some studio jams, it already sounds as though this could be Collier’s most guitar-heavy song to date. Admittedly, that title is already held by Do You Feel Love, but with the addition of a Whammy pedal, it looks like this as-yet-unnamed track could just steal its spot.

Not only does the clip tease the pair’s upcoming collaboration, it also highlights Vai’s supreme session abilities, with the guitar god effortlessly answering Collier’s off-the-cuff calls and transforming them into mind-boggling lead lines.

Elsewhere in Collier’s catalog of clips, it was revealed that Willow will also be featuring on Djesse Vol. 4, starring in a much-shorter studio shot that saw her record some visceral vocals for another unnamed track.

It’s unlikely the two will share the same song, but even so, having the two crop up on the same tracklist means Djesse Vol. 4 can be safely filed under 2023’s most intriguing upcoming albums for guitar fans.

Head over to Collier’s Instagram account for further album-related updates.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.