Danny Gatton and Buddy Emmons deserve each other's genius. That much is evident in witnessing the fiery interplay between these two, who are appearing at the Cellar Door through New Year's Day.
Gatton is that rarity, a local guitar legend more than deserving of his reputation. In sheer technical terms, Gatton has few peers on electric guitar. In the company of pedal steel guitarist Buddy Emmons -- considered the top banana on his instrument as well -- Gatton is for once concentration on a single (loosely defined) genre: jazz.
The results are astounding. With Emmons to share the lead voicing, Gatton is able to say more, powerfully, in less space and often with biting humor. For instance, in one section, what began as a standard twelvebar blues evolved into the modally oriented Miles Davis classic "So What." From there it jumped into Jack McDuff's driving "Rock Candy" which Gatton then capped in Travispicking fashion. Throughout the night frequent quotations from other tunes thrown into longer pieces were both funny ond revealing of Gatton and Emmons' considerable music vocabulary.
Gatton's increased confidence is slowly translating into positive subtleties, He is no longer overpowering simply through technique; in good company, he is asserting his position as the preeminent guitarist of the post-World War II generation.