swingset

Windham Hill

Robbie Basho – Bonn Ist Supreme (Bo’Weevil)

In the great trilogy of the new guitar movement in America in the 1960’s three names immediately come to mind: John Fahey, Leo Kottke and Robbie Basho.  The extreme short of it is that Fahey was the deepest, Kottke was the craftsman and Basho was the mystic. If these narrow definitions ring even remotely true than it makes sense that Basho would be the last to get his due and find his audience. In the last few years Basho’s sounds could be heard echoed in the movements of many in the current solo guitar strata. The time has now come and this posthumous live recording from Germany in 1980 reveals the answer to some looming doubts some may have about his later period works. Bonn Ist Supreme shows Basho in command of both his playing and voice. Running through selections from throughout his catalog Basho shows just as much depth as Fahey and skill as Kottke but where they remain rooted in Americana Basho travels to the east and India without ever abandoning his fundamental folk based idioms. This inflection deflects the crass cultural jacking that some artists fall head first into appropriation. Basically, Basho makes music that remains uniquely his own. Rescued from a box of second generation tapes supplied by Cul De Sac’s Glenn Jones, Bonn Ist Supreme has a gritty quality that makes classics like “Rocky Mountain Raga” seem all the more authentic and provides insight into his later Windham Hill catalog which some dismiss as “New Age”. The Bo’Weevil label does a great job with the package and Jones’ liner notes are well crafted and informative. Any fan of the guitar should track this down. Lets hope there are some other rarities unearthed from Basho that result from this. This should really be pressed up on vinyl as well. Any takers?

by STEVE LOWENTHAL on 5/4/2008 in Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , ,