If you google the name Antonio Forcione, the phrase that pops up instantly is ‘the Jimi Hendrix of the acoustic guitar’. Having seen him last night in concert at Manchester’s Band On The Wall, I find that description wanting. He has Jimi’s technical skill and imagination but his style of playing is, to my ears and eyes, more akin to a mix of John Martyn, Paco de Lucia and Stanley Clarke. At any rate, it’s quite astonishingly inventive and beautiful. This is the tune he played for his final encore last night, and it gives a flavour of the wonderful music he makes.
It’s all instrumental and contains much improvisation, but there’s always an underlying tune or two and some joyfully-syncopated rhythms to latch on to as his spider-fingers weave their webs. As a guitarist now forced to re-evaluate his own pitiful attempts at playing, I find what he does quite breathtaking. As a listener, I hope you do too.