Thursday, 30 April 2009

POST #048 John Pizzarelli on Guitar Voicings and George Van Eps

With all the possibilities for inner voice – leading and so on, each one of these sections can be like a Rubik’s Cube to vigure out. I always think about George Van Eps and how he might handle it. – John Pizzarelli

(John pays tribute to George Van Eps in Ep's Frets...I once saw Van Eps' instruction book all three volumes at local library...its about the size of a telephone book all up! Havent yet had the courage to check it out of the library yet :P - Ed)

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

POST #047 Robben Ford on Traditional Jazz Guitar Tone

“I love blues guitar because of the sound of the instrument but, for the more interesting harmonic element, I’ve always listened to tenor saxophone: Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Archie Shepp and Pharaoh Sanders. I never listed to jazz guitarists very much, I found the sound to be all the same: big-bodied guitar: rhythm pickup: dark, warm wound. Everybody played that way! But with blues guitar there’s a whole range of different sounds”. – Robben Ford

(Robben Ford gets some bluesy swagger and ballsy tones out of his Tele - Ed)

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

POST #046 Harry Manx on Indian Slide Guitar

“Playing in a circular fashion…you would slide up to a note, and the moment you reach it, you’re on your way back down – there’s no stopping. That’s really the basis of Inidan slide guitar. Also, if you want to go from note A to note B when ascending a scale, you will often go from A to C first, then come down to B. Both of these concepts lend a kind of roundness to Indian music, and they are done purposely to imitate the vocal style, which is what they are trying to do with slide guitar in India - Harry Manx

(V M Bhatt plays the Mohan veena. Grooves in a very different way from Western music. - Ed)

Monday, 27 April 2009

POST #045 McCoy Tyner on Wes Montgomery

“When I was with John Coltrane, he hired Wes Montgomery for a while and I enjoyed that, Wes had big ears. He wasn’t the kind of guy who went to music school. He didn’t have to. It was a natural thing. He could hear anything. Whomever I am playing with, we have to come together. That means listening and paying attention to the person you are playing with, and hopefully trying to complement them. Consequently, they will listen to you. If you show that kind of respect, something beautiful will come out” – McCoy Tyner

(Music is communication. Playing with others is conversation. Wes doing Windy on his more 'commercial' A&M recordings. Sure there are better clips of Wes playing more jazz...but how many feature him in a BRIGHT ORANGE suit! Also a clip of vintage Wes doing Coltrane's Impressions...effortlessly combining single lines, octives. Damn! - Ed)

Sunday, 26 April 2009

POST #044 Scotty Moore on Art vs Commerce

“With Elvis, unless we were making records, we were on the road playing the same thing day in and day out. So as far as becoming a good musician as opposed to a commercial player – well, I missed that chance. But, that’s show biz!” – Scotty Moore

(I respectfully disagree Mr Moore, Exihibit A: the wonderful version of Harbour Lights from the Sun Mystery Train, Good Rocking Tonight..too numerous to mention...can u imagine an Elvis Sun records WITHOUT Scotty Moore? Plus he had a different style from the Chuck Berry school of R'n'R. - Ed)

Saturday, 25 April 2009

POST #043 Scotty Moore on Playing lead guitar with Elvis

“A lot was a combination of old blues licks, some Travis, some Atkins, a combination of thumb and finger – just whatever I could make work. “ Scotty Moore

(Train I riiiiiiiiide....sixteen coaches long - Ed)

Friday, 24 April 2009

POST #042 Barney Kessel on Playing Music and Charlie Christian

“I wanted to play everything I heard,” he told Berle. “The music from the calliope at the fair, the tunes played by the organ grinder with his little monkey. I tried playing all those tunes on the guitar, and I would experiment on all the strings. In other words, the music was already in me. I wasn’t looking
for the guitar to tell me what I should look for. I already knew what I wanted to find, and I used the guitar to find it.”

“When I begin improvising with Charlie Christian,” Kessel asked himself, “what am I going to play?” Kessel realized that his enthusiasm for
Christian’s sound had made him something of a clone. "I decided that no matter how much I liked Charlie Christian or anybody else, they would remain only influences,
I began thinking in terms of absorbing these influences, rather than being absorbed by them.” - Barney Kessel

(Be a musical sponge ! Make your own musical gumbo! - Ed)

Thursday, 23 April 2009

POST #041 Frank Gambale on Harmony and Subtleties of Guitar

“Studying the chord sequence and analyzing the soloist’s choice of notes over those chords is also a great way to learn about harmony. Doing this will also train your ear. You’ll improve your phrasing – when to play notes, not just what to play…all the subtleties of guitar, such as string bending, vibrato, slides, and all the other beautiful colors that make the guitar such a wonderfully expressive instrument” - Frank Gambale

(Transcribe by ear rather then over relying on tabs (guilty!), great advice! - Ed)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

POST #040 Charlie Hunter on Timing and Montunos

“Unless your time is absolutely on, you’re a burden to anyone sharing the stage with you. No matter what kind of music you’re into, montunos will make a man out of you because they don’t have a a big downbeat anywhere you can land on.” Charlie Hunter

( Really love the video below, who says drummers are not musicians :P - Ed)

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

POST #039 Frank Gambale on Practice

“People spend a lot of time practicing technique and not enough practicing musical things – a sad state of affairs…..musically speaking “you are what you practice.” If you spend your time practicing scales, when you get on the bandstand, you’ll probably play a bunch of scales, which is not music.” – Frank Gambale

( Practice scales to build technique but also practice making music ! - Ed)

Monday, 20 April 2009

POSR #038 Robin Trower on Heart over Mind

“…one of the things I’ve written is called “The Triumph of Heart Over Mind.”And that, to me, is what you’ve got to achieve. It’s got to be emotions first – getting the head out of the way – because the emotions will put you somewhere you couldn’t think of. That’s the trick really; lose yourself completely and just let it flow.” – Robin Trower

( Be in the moment...thats very zen! - Ed)

Sunday, 19 April 2009

POST #037 Harry Manx on Indian and Blues music

“A big part of it is bending notes. Indian music has something called the meend, which is how you approach a note – whether you approach it from above or below, or whether you go to another note first. And if you listen to, say, B B King, he has an amazing meend. As soon as he plays one note, you go, “Ah, there’s B B King.” So, how you approach and phrase the notes is critical in both traditions” - Harry Manx

(Harry playing a very sitar sounding Mohan Veena , some great fingerpicking and slide work and generally mystical goodness here. - Ed)

Saturday, 18 April 2009

POST #036 Robben Ford on his Style and playing from the Heart

“ People think there’s something amazing going on, but there’s not. I’m really a very basic guitar player. It’s just bebop and blues. Stravinsky and Ravel – now that’s complicated! I like simple music – as did my heroes. Miles Davis liked simple things. Same as Coltrane. Giant Steps was complicated but after that it was basic Two Five progressions for the rest of his life. A Love Supreme isn’t hard, but it’s from the heart – and that’s what matters.” – Robben Ford

“I’m really not doing anything that hasn’t been done a thousand times before, but I’m doing it in my own way, from my heart and in a way that moves me”. – Robben Ford

(Pretty much a one chord funk /latin work out here, Robben Ford's outside lines combined with a bluesy sensibility really does it for me...that great tension and release - Ed)

Friday, 17 April 2009

POST #035 Matt Bellamy on Attitude

“We’d play small halls, or round at each others houses…we couldn’t get any gigs until we did this battle of the bands contest when we were about 16. We weren’t very good musicians, and knew we were going to lose, so we just took the piss. Then we won…it made me realize how important attitude is in music.” – Matt Bellamy of Muse

(Sometimes an attitude problem is an asset! - Ed)

Thursday, 16 April 2009

POST #034 Bill Frisell on McCoy Tyner and Originality

“He would go away from the basic harmony, but in such a powerful way that there was no question about it, he just developed his own language. The most important thing was the inspiration in discovering that it was possible to find your own way of doing things. For me, that is the part of jazz, or music in general, that you strive for. You take hat’s around you and try to find your own way.” – Bill Frisell on McCoy Tyner

(There's a difference between an Artist and a Craftsman. How do you strive for something new to say? Just love the way McCoy Tyner have so much variation in his solo in the video...George Benson can't help but having a huge grin during McCoy's solo, he's hardly even comping behind McCoy, just lapping it all up! - Ed)

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

POST #033 Lindsey Buckingham on being artistic

“To me it’s about being honest, not being avant-garde. Being different just for the sake of it isn’t the point” – Lindsey Buckingham

(In the world of hyped up manufactured musical fades that's here today and gone tomorrow, Lindsey's advice is a breath of fresh air - Ed)

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

POST #032 Barney Kessel on influences

We're all influenced by something, unless we're living in a vacuum. I don't deny it; in fact, I'm rather proud of it, because if you're going to be influenced by someone—he's pretty good.

“There's no music in the guitar,” he once remarked. “It's the human being who makes the music.” - Barney Kessel

( Barney Kessel is a pretty good influence, he's pretty damn good! Barney Kessel shows his sensitive side on the beautiful Autumn Leaves, check out those pretty chords in the intro - Ed)

Monday, 13 April 2009

POST #031 Rory Block on Playing the Blues

“But if you go back to the days before there was a lot of written music and widespread distribution of recordings, people weren’t confined by limitations such as thinking. “I have to go to the next chord now because I just finished four beats” The original blues artists didn’t have the same preconceptions about timing, chords, tunings, or pitch…because of that, House was not always going to the next chord when our preconceived notions tell us it should change. It’s complicated, and also highly sophisticated. Today, we think, “Oh, he left out a beat.” No, he did that on purpose. So I had to completely change my context to get that right. “ – Rory Block

(Ain't nothing more moving then hearing Son House putting all his heart and soul into a song -Ed)

Sunday, 12 April 2009

POST #030 Rory Block on Son House and Death Letter Blues

“Death Letter Blues is a really important pinnacle on which so many songs are directly based. The rhythm and the chord progression – everything about it was absolutely pivotal. The Chicago style was certainly based on songs like “Walking Blues” and “Death Letter” which is really the same guitar part as “Walking Blues”. You can hear rock bands today playing songs directly related to “Death Letter Blues,” “Walking Blues,” and “Jinx Blues”. – Rory Block

(Laid back yet driving, 4/4 yet have a little lilting shuffle, stretching the rhythm like a rubber band yet never go out of don't play it, you feeeeeeel it - Ed)

Saturday, 11 April 2009

POST # 029 Rory Block on Son House and Robert Johnson

“I can very much see how Son House’s playing was the foundation of (Robert) Johnson’s playing. He told me…he taught Johnson how to play. But Johnson took the music and just ran with it. ….(House) played slower then Johnson, and he was much more deliberate and driving…it takes more unexpected directions in its strumming and the placement of certain notes” – Rory Block

(Listen and feeeeeeel the immortal Son House play...can you dig it? -Ed)

Friday, 10 April 2009

POST #028 Les Claypool on Trey Anastasio

“He’s got incredible ear, and a great sense of tonal space – where to play and where not to play. Playing with Trey is like having a very interesting conversation. There’s a lot of great give and take, and he’s very tasteful” – Les Claypool on Trey Anastasio

( How often do you turn yourself up coz you can't hear yourself just to have your band members turn up their volume even more? - Ed)

Thursday, 9 April 2009

POST #027 Paul Gilbert on Rhythmic Variations

“ He’s (producer Kevin Elson) a very good producer and would often say, “Can you do something beside 16th notes?” [laughs] He always wanted me to break it up and try
some different rhythmic figures, and when I did, it sounded good.” - Paul Gilbert

( Ay Caramba!! Paul keep things interesting in Down to Mexico - Ed)

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

POST # 026 Barney Kessel on Jazz and Self Expression

"Of all the ways to improvise, the most stimulating and demanding is jazz, because it...asks you to thoroughly know both your instrument and the principles of music so well that they are reduced to subconscious habits...”

“Self-expression,” he has said, “doesn’t mean collecting a bunch of licks from other people and wearing them like a necklace. You’ve got to be yourself If you don’t believe what you’re playing, your audience will not feel anything.”

(Everyone can play a cowboy E chord I just gotta work on the rest of the guitar! To be a parrot or to be a pioneer...what's your path? - Ed)

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

POST #025 Barney Kessel on changing his style from swing to bop

“I can’t begin to tell you what a blow it was to my start revising my own way of playing, because I didn’t like the way I played... I was almost
like a babe in the woods, because I didn’t have that kind of technique at the time.”
-Barney Kessel

( Even Charlie Parker got a cymbal thrown at him at a jam session once, no pain no gain! Have you ever feel like you were experiencing musical growing pain but came out a better musician from working through it? I am sure we all felt that way when we first heard Hendrix/Django/EVH/Pass/SRV/Wes/Vai/Emmanuel (insert your own guitar hero here here)- Ed)

Monday, 6 April 2009

POST #024 Will Lee on Hiram Bullock and playing live

“Hiram was the opposite of a shoe-gazer, he could take a roomful of blank faces anywhere in the world and, within five minutes, have everyone completely lit up, smilling, cheering, laughing, and totally involved. Every room became his room.” – Will Lee on Hiram Bullock

(Hey if you ain't working the audience why are you playing in front of one? -Ed)

Sunday, 5 April 2009

POST #023 Tom Morello on Playing in front of an Audience

“One night I’m rocking a packed arena, totally confident with screaming electric guitar; the next night I’m in this coffee bar, absolutely mortified, playing to an audience of 12 people while a latte machine makes noise in the background. [laughs] You have to go out and feel what it’s like to totally bomb, and only when you do that can you start to figure out how to make people pay attention” – Tom Morello

(Have you ever gotten stage fright? I've gotten the shakes, freezed up, fluffed notes, played too loud, played too soft, dropped picks, broken strings, accidently stepped on and unplugged the lead...thankfully not all in the same song! Still the show must go on! - Ed)

Saturday, 4 April 2009

POST #022 Vic Juris on Improvising over Chord Changes

“When improvising over any chord, think about emphasizing the harmonically interesting tones as opposed to just running an agreeable scale with no priority given to any of the notes” – Vic Juris

(Chord tones plus any interesting altered notes on the downbeat is what Vic is referring to here I think...Vic plays some really nice melodies, inside and some outside playing, I especially like his beautiful phrasing - Ed)

Friday, 3 April 2009

POST #021 Robin Trower on Albert King

“Why somebody like Albert King is the greatest is because, compositionally, his solos are beautiful melodies. You want soloing to be free. You want it to be something that you’ve just invented in that moment. But at the same time, you want it to be compositionally right…..not just some licks you’ve learned and are overlaying.” – Robin Trower

( Albert King feeling the blues power but outlining the changes too sure beats meandering on the pentatonic scale over the whole progression. - Ed )

Thursday, 2 April 2009

POST #020 Barney Kessel on Improvising and Making Mistakes

“I had a lot of solos to play,” Kessel recalled to Gitler. “I just sort of closed my eyes and played whatever came to me, freely, whatever it was.”

“I hadn’t been to a jam session in about two months,” he recalled, “and I went to a jam session in Chicago... When I sat down to play, I realized that my reflexes weren’t there, that if I thought of something it didn’t come out right away; so something within me told me that I must get back to the way I was before and dare to make a mistake and dare to play freely, and that’s the only way to get good at playing. The only way of getting good at making things up on the spot is to constantly make things up on the spot. That was an insight to me.” - Barney Kessel

( Practice making things up on the spot... Barney sharing an interesting anacdote with Herb before both playing freely and making things up on Body and Soul. - Ed)

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