Concerts 2019

10 years ago an idea was born—that there were scores of masterful, non-commercial, creative guitarists who defied genre who deserved to be heard, and a community could be created to serve them. Some thirty shows later, this idea is still growing. Help us celebrate year ten in 2020! Here is a preview of what's happening:

Wed, April 22nd, 2020: Honoring Pat Martino at The Jazz Standard
Pat Martino started blowing people's minds when he was fourteen years old in the early 60's. Every jazz guitarist since has been affected by his legacy. As part of our Living Masters Series we will perform his music with Adam Rogers, Oz Noy, Sheryl Bailey, Nir Felder, David Gilmore and more. With them will be John Patitucci (bs) and Lenny White (dr)


Wed, April 29, 2020: Nels Cline Invitational at The Sultan, Brooklyn
No musician has been a bigger supporter of the summit than Nels. We asked him to put together an out-of-the-box team of guitar collaborators. He'll be joined by Sean Lennon, Alan Sparhawk (of the band Low), pedal steel phenom Susan Alcorn, and Julian Lage.

Wed, May 6, 2020: The 1970 Project at Le Poisson Rouge
1970 may have been one of the most formative years in guitar music ever. Just a few of the big records of the year were: Band of Gypsies, Bitches Brew, American Beauty, All Things Must Pass, Funkadelic, After the Gold Rush, Live Cream, and Sonny Sharrock's Monkie-Pockie Boo. We'll play some of this music (and more) like you've never heard it before with The Messthetics feat. Anthony Pirog, Scott Metzger with Dave Dreiwitz, Vernon Reid, Joel Harrison.

With Josh Dion, Nicki Richards, Keith Fluitt, Henry Hey, etc.


Honoring Ralph Towner / Monday, March 25th, 2019

DROM in New York, NY // Show at 7:30 pm

Every year we honor living improvisers and composers who have changed the world of guitar. Ralph Towner is our 2019 honoree. Six very different performers will play their own versions of his compositions and Joel Harrison will interview Towner from the stage.

Towner is one of the only improvising players to have focused specifically on the nylon string guitar and has hence developed a signature language. He combines background in classical, jazz, and folk idioms with uncommon grace. His compositions are gorgeous, lyrical, packed with subtle drama and cagey surprise. His career spans more than forty years. and he is best known as the lead composer, guitarist, and keyboardist for the acoustic jazz ensemble "Oregon." Towner has also collaborated with Gary Burton, John Abercrombie, and Keith Jarrett. His groups, such as Oregon, essentially defined "chamber jazz" before the term existed.


Nels Cline

Gyan Riley

Leni Stern

Ben Monder

Brad Shepik

Vic Juris

Joel Harrison

Each artist will play in duo or trio settings with a variety of accompanists. Guests include Uri Caine, Erik Friedlander, Anupam, Shobhakar, Dan Weiss, Michael Formanek, Alan Mednard, Jasper Dutz, Jon Hadfield, Mamadou Ba, and More

85 Avenue A, New York, NY


Ralph Towner / March 27th and 28th, 2019

The Jazz Standard in New York, NY

The Jazz Standard 
116 E. 27th St. New York, NY

“When Nels Cline and Fred Frith played their first public duet it didn’t always sound like guitar music. It sounded, at times, like a sanitation truck’s trash compactor, like a collapsing carillon, like a slowed down train wreck. That’s the beauty of the Alternative Guitar festival…which features guitarists who don’t just pick and strum.”

- Jon Pareles, The New York Times

Nels Cline and Fred Frith: 01-18-14 SubCulture (2014 The Alternative Guitar Summit)