The Great Guitars


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Guitar virtuosos Bireli Lagrene, Martin Taylor and Ulf Wakenius create musical magic with “one night, three award-winning guitarists, eighteen strings.”

The Great Guitars™ traces its colorful heritage back to the 1970’s when the legendary jazz guitarists of that era toured the world and recorded together. Award-winning guitarist Martin Taylor, who replaced Herb Ellis to become part of the original group in the 1980’s with the legendary Barney Kessel and Charlie Byrd, has revised the format for the 21st century-enlisting two of today’s top jazz guitars players to co-create a brilliant program displaying guitar mastery, emotion, humor and musical fireworks.

Combining Taylor’s award-winning virtuosic finger style with Lagrene’s jaw-dropping technique, and Wakenius’ incredible musical versatility, the concert features solo, duet, and trio performances by these three acknowledged masters of fingerstyle, jazz and gypsy guitar. Between them, these three guitar greats have worked with artists ranging from Tommy Emmanuel to David Grisman, Donald Fagen to Wynton Marsalis, and Bonnie Raitt to Bob Dylan.


Since the 1980s, Bireli Lagrene has been the undisputed king of jazz guitar worldwide. In the early 80’s, Bireli was a child prodigy, a “wunderkind,” who developed his craft into an art.

Over the last 43 years Bireli has released 39 albums, was awarded the Django d’Or for “Best French Musician” (1993), French Music Awards “Best Jazz Album” for “Front Page” (2001) and two more Django d’Or awards for “Best French Musician” (2002) and “Best Guitarist” (2007).  His crowning achievement was in 2012 receiving the prestigious Medal of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (recognition of significant contributions to the arts).

Pat Metheny calls Martin Taylor “one of the most awesome solo guitar players in the history of the instrument”, while Jeff Beck says, “he out-shreds all of us – I’ve never seen anything like it”. Taylor is widely recognized as the world’s foremost exponent of solo fingerstyle jazz guitar playing, with a record 15 British Jazz Awards, Top 10 albums in the USA and Europe and an MBE from the Queen of Great Britain. His innovative online guitar school now teaches guitarists in over 60 countries.

Ulf Wakenius. A jazz guitarist extraordinaire acclaimed and celebrated all over the world. Between 1997 and 2007 Ulf held what may have been the most prestigious spot in jazz for a guitarist: a chair in the Oscar Peterson Quartet, walking in the footsteps of Joe Pass.

Wakenius’ guitar duo “Guitars Unlimited” rocked Scandinavia in the early 80s, culminating in the 1985 Melody Grand Prix, which was seen by 600 million viewers. Shortly after that Wakenius started an extremely successful and long-lasting collaboration with the legendary bass player Niels-Henning Örsted Pedersen. (NHOP), and both of his albums with bass icon Ray Brown, topped the US Jazz Charts.

He has also performed and recorded with, Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, Ray Brown, Jack DeJohnette, Jim Hall, Milt Jackson, Joe Henderson, Phil Woods, Max Roach, Toots Thielemans, Bobby Hutcherson, Bill Evans, Randy Brecker and many, many others…

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