With the release of No Substitutions - Live in Osaka, a longtime musical dream has been fulfilled by Favored Nations. Nearly 25 years after first crossing paths on the burgeoning Los Angeles scene, these two Grammy-award-winning guitarists have finally realized an opportunity to perform a freewheeling, no-holds-barred set together in a club environment. Freed from the confines of recording studios and high-profile projects, Steve Lukather and Larry Carlton deliver a concert album that highlights their soulful interplay and astounding musicianship; No Substitutions will stand as a modern guitar classic.
The Japanese tour was the first onstage collaboration of these two guitar icons – they have known each other for over 25 years - but a pairing that they knew would eventually take place. During their three-week jaunt, the guitarists — backed here by ace drummer Gregg Bissonette, keyboardist Rick Jackson and bassist Chris Kent — performed a wide selection of tunes from an equally diverse range of styles, eschewing extensive rehearsals in the interest of spontaneity and looseness.
Both guitarists cover the dynamic gamut with highly adventurous solos, creating deep moods over Jeff Beck’s "The Pump", trading searing lines over the legendary Miles Davis' vehicle "All Blues", and the soothing melody in Larry’s signature piece “Room 335”. The informal context allows Carlton and Lukather to stretch into realms of harmony and improvisation largely undocumented even by their combined thousands of recorded performances.
Larry Carlton is, and will always be, the reigning guitarist in the LA studio scene, with thousands of sessions to his credit; his work has included legendary appearances with Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Quincy Jones, Barbra Streisand, and countless others. With a solo recording career spanning 20+ solo albums, Larry Carlton is further established as one of the great guitarists of our generation.
Best known as a co- founder of the pop phenomenon Toto, Steve Lukather also has recorded with virtually every major recording artist of the past 25 years. He was the primary guitarist on such groundbreaking recordings as Michael Jackson's Thriller, and has appeared on stage or record with such legendary artists as Randy Newman, Paul McCartney, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana and Boz Scaggs, to name but a few. Lukather continues to tour regularly with Toto, and still maintains a select session schedule.
The combined sales totals of the albums that Carlton and Lukather have performed on over the years is staggering, in the hundred’s of millions by conservative estimates.
The fire created by Carlton and Lukather’s long awaited and dreamed of collaboration has created an unexpected bit of guitar lore already. When the tapes were played backed, what was once just a series of impromptu concerts in Japan proved worthy of a great CD for the world.
With No Substitutions out in the world, Larry Carlton and Steve Lukather have added a new layer to an already profound musical kinship. Their playing on this fiery live record demonstrates why they continue to be hailed as two of the world's great guitarists, and sets equally high expectations for future collaborations.
Listening to No Substitutions, you can feel the fire in their playing, you can hear the smiles on their faces, and understand the mutual respect that these two friends have for each other.
A good time was had by all — we thought we’d share.
Reviews"For those who worship the guitar gods, this meeting of two of the axe's finest, recorded live in Osaka, naturally provides much incredible technique and balls-out fusion energy in which to revel." - All About Jazz