String Theory Cover


“It’s a treat to stumble across fresh guitar sounds and novel concepts, and guitarist Ken Hatfield offers both in his latest solo album, String Theory. . . .  Throughout String Theory, Hatfield’s playing is brainy, dynamic, and relentlessly melodic.”

–excerpt, Andy Ellis review of String Theory in Guitar Player, April 2006


“This is the most satisfying solo guitar album I’ve heard in a long time. . . .  There’s something different about Hatfield, whose name I’d never run across until his publicist sent me this CD; it’s a name we’d all be seeing, if justice ruled the music biz. . . .  On half the album, Hatfield plays nylon-string guitar; on the other half, he plays overdubbed duets with dobro or mandolin.  Since his music tends toward the polyphonic on his own, these duets are head-shakingly rich.”

–excerpt, Fred Kaplan review of String Theory in The Absolute Sound, April/May, 2006


“FINALLY, A JAZZ recording we can wholeheartedly recommend to best-selling author and PBS physics wiz Brian Greene. . . .  That’s because guitarist Ken Hatfield had more than mere wordplay in mind when he came up with a name for his latest release, “String Theory.” . . .  you needn’t be Mensa material (thank heaven) to thoroughly enjoy the elegant universe Hatfield sets into motion here. . . .  In addition to playing classical guitar with precision and rhythmic flair on this solo album, Hatfield uses mandolin and dobro to create a uniquely textured brand of chamber jazz.”

–excerpt, Mike Joyce review of String Theory in The Washington Post, February 24, 2006



“Hatfield’s technical mastery of the guitar and the wide repertoire of traditions he draws on for inspiration and composition mark him out as distinctive among the many plectrists in jazz.  On String Theory, his most sophisticated outing yet, Ken’s Appalachian roots are revealed for all to see and be proud of.  If Bill Evans was the quintessential thinking man’s jazz pianist, Ken Hatfield is his guitaristic equivalent.  Ken constantly wows you with Segovian classical sensibilities interspersed with classical Greek and Latin American literary leanings.”

–excerpt, John Stevenson review of String Theory at


“Whatever stylistic groove he’s pursuing, Hatfield’s guitar work is exceptional.  This CD is further evidence, if we needed it, that Hatfield is one of the most skilled, creative, and original guitarist/composers currently recording.”

–excerpt, Ron Forbes-Roberts review of String Theory in Acoustic Guitar, May 2006


“***** [Five Stars]  Composer and guitarist Ken Hatfield serves up a remarkable demonstration of his gifts on solo classical guitar, with overdubbed dobro and mandolin. If the inspirations are part literary . . . and part scientific . . . , the musical results are a delightful amalgam of classical, jazz and Appalachian folk strains. His 13-part Snowhill Variations for solo guitar is a beautifully sustained baroque excursion, full of light and shade, and the seven-part Borges & I, inspired by the master’s short “fictions”, is brilliant. Guitar is married to dobro on The Gospel According to Sam and to mandolin for String Theory, both three-piece “suites” of surprising diversity. Most remarkable of all, apart from Hatfield’s virtuosity and sheer musicality, is the unity he has managed to impose on all this without doing violence to the music’s many hues – or its beauty and wit.”

–excerpt, Ray Comiskey review of String Theory in The Irish Times, March 4, 2006


“A brilliant, classical influenced player, Hatfield returns to his Appalachian roots with this deeply personal multimovement solo recording that has him alternating between nylon-string acoustic guitar, mandolin and dobro. . . .  there is much for fans of great guitar playing—from Leo Kottke and Jerry Douglas to Chet Atkins and Charlie Byrd to Andres Segovia—to appreciate.”

–excerpt, Bill Milkowski review of String Theory in Jazz Times, April 2006


“Ken Hatfield’s String Theory is a classical gas dosed with sweet Appalachian honey. . . .  All four pieces that comprise String Theory feature an immaculate, beautifully captured, acoustically resonant sound. . . .  Hatfield effortlessly makes his Buscarino guitar ring like a bell as he conveys the fascinating stories behind these multi-part selections.”

–excerpt, Elliott Simon review of String Theory in AllAboutJazz-New York, February 2006


“A man of renowned wit and considerable guitar abilities, Ken Hatfield returns to his Appalachian roots on his 2006 CD, String Theory. . . .  Whether playing dobro, mandolin, solo classical guitar ala his early mentor Charlie Byrd, serious jazz or inventing a cross-section of Andres Segovia meets Chet Atkins, Ken Hatfield never fails to amaze on another fine album featuring some of the most sublime and entertaining instrumental guitar music being recorded today.”

–excerpt, Robert Silverstein review of String Theory in 20th Century Guitar, March 2006