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SA Music Awards

2012 Best Keyboardist: Gabriel Guardiola (Immortal Guardian)

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Photo by Chuck Kerr

Gabriel Guardiola (Immortal Guardian)

You'd have to be a pretty hot player to draw attention away from Gabriel Guardiola's hyper-drive guitar work. So it's no surprise that his only competition is Immortal Guardian's keyboard player, a dazzling gunslinger who goes by the name of … Gabriel Guardiola. Yes, IG's premier shredder delivers both the boggling guitar leads and the expressive, lightning-fast keyboard work. If you think that's impressive — which you clearly do if you were one of the readers who named him the city's best man on the ivories — consider that he often does both at the same time. Immortal Guardian drew tens of thousands of eyeballs to YouTube with a clip of Guardiola pulling off this head-spinning simultaneous guitar-keyboard solo trick on "Nevermore," and the band's new EP, Super Metal, is crammed with plenty more examples of his staggering musicianship on the keys. From Euro-style power metal riffs to neo-classical piano codas, Guardiola does the impossible with ease, offering the toughest possible rejoinder to detractors: let's see you do this.

2. Alex Wash (Black Magic & the Full Exposé, Bad Breaks), Anthony Burchell (Trip the Light), Johnny White (Attica) (Tie)
3. D.T. Buffkin (Cryin' D.T. Buffkin & the Bad Breath), Michael Workman (Tie)

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