Friday, 31 July 2009

POST # 136 Keith Richards on Learning about the Blues

You know, the BBC had not been particularly generous in its deliverance of blues and esoteric kinds of music. You started to search out certain guys that had more knowledge, more material than you did, and you had to know where it came from. So then I went to study this stuff and I realised that these blues men, they're talking about getting laid. And there's me studying what they're doing, but I ain't getting laid. I mean, there was something missing in my life - obviously, to be a bluesman I have to go see what this lemon juice is, running down your leg. And you know, these guys are actually living a life - they're not studying. I loved rock'n'roll but there's got to be something behind the rock'n'roll. – Keith Richards

( Here Howlin Wolf gives you his version of the Blues ! - Ed)

POST # 135 John Abercrombie on Spontanuity

“To be creative and spontaneous, you have to live with imperfection.” —John Abercrombie

( John Abercrombie demonstrates soloing on 1 string. - Ed)

Saturday, 25 July 2009

POST # 134 Keith Richards on Early Recordings with the Stones

They were applying European techniques to recording, to making music, that don't apply to that system at all. So you did find yourself, for quite a while, head to head with this sort of monolithic idea of British recording engineers. You just learned by trial and error. Trying to transfer it on to tape was a pain for years. I mean, anybody will tell you you're up against this monolithic idea of, like, the correct method of recording. But we're not looking for the correct method, we're looking for the incorrect method: I want to see how much that microphone can take; if a guy is over there and yelling, I want to see whether the voice still carries. It's trial and error, trial and error, and mostly error. - Keith Richards

(Be a fly on the wall! Interesting clip of the Stones cutting Sympathy for the Devil in the 60's and puts to rest who actually played the guitar solo in the song. - Ed)

Friday, 24 July 2009

POST # 133 Keith Richards on Recording the Blues

Another thing to do with the blues is how they were recorded. They were done on the quick, and some of that stuff was made on wire, not even tape, let alone digital. So you'd have to work out where to put the microphone to get the sound of the room - you know, where John Lee Hooker would put his foot. And you'd sort of work your area. Making regular records - orchestrated and produced records - you didn't get a chance to figure out the room, and figure out what you can do. Every room is different - you get a bounce back here, and you put the microphone a little further back. You could hear on Robert Johnson records where they'd deliberately pulled the microphone back to get more guitar, and so he's wailing over the top. It's one thing doing it, another thing to capture it…. You got one cat with a foot and maybe some guy slapping a bass somewhere round the back, and you could hear them playing the room, as well, and not just the instrument. - Keith Richards

( Recording music is an art itself, Keith tears it up with a Etta James and Cray plays a tasty groovy solo. - Ed )

Thursday, 23 July 2009

POST # 132 Stochelo Rosenberg on Developing His Playing

I cannot read notes and I never went to music school. Sometimes they give me a piece of music and when I say that I cannot read notes they gaze at me in a strange way. I was raised among my family and I learned a little from my cousins. The only way to improve my playing was by lowering the speed of my record player and thus figuring out the music of Django. That’s how I developed my playing. What I did in the beginning was pure Django. After that I listened to and learned to play more types of music. That brought me to a style of my own with the music of Django as the base. - Stochelo Rosenberg

( I think written music is just one way of conveying music to another person when you can not hear that person playing it. Here Stochelo plays Django's Tiger in a casual jam at Samois. - Ed)

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

POST # 131 Pat Martino on Wes Montgomery's Later Recordings

When Wes' Riverside era ended, my personal feelings were based on judgmental concerns. I was critical of anything that went against an artist's aesthetics, and Wes' Riverside days were the aesthetic ones. And then suddenly there was more interest in the sense of production, the industrial. At the time, I was sorry to hear that was taking place. But another part of me thought of how he had to take care of his family. That more or less threw me back into reality and made me realize what a beautiful person he was. The end result was a broader opinion of what life was all about. I was small-minded in those years. My main concern was jazz guitar and nothing more. But being interested in Wes holistically, as a person as well as a player, as a leader as well as a great musician, made me realize that he could adapt to a number of identities. The whole thing spilled out and I began to be interested in a broader context.The honesty of Wes' music was very important to me. He wasn't a competitive image to chase. Most young players find that necessary in our culture, but the way he was as a person neutralized that entire dilemma. I was much more interested in being a better human being, and he was the core of that entire issue. I wish kids had the opportunity to be what I was and to see who I saw in those days. He helped me grow up and be more sensitive amidst insensitivity. Wes was the best person I ever met. - Pat Martino

( If an artist's music reflects true aspects of themselves, then its not suprising to find them to be inspirational as individuals. Pat Martino pays tribute to Wes on Four on Six. - Ed )

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

POST # 130 Bob Brozman on the Blues

The 12 bar blues, with the three chords as we know them today, did not develop overnight. It took literally a generation for black guitarists in Mississippi to figure that out. African musicians came from a modal culture, not a diatonic one. So the earliest blues, like Charley Patton’s “When you Way Get Dark”….are one-chord blues. You can feel the 12 bar structure, and you can actually take the melodies he sings and put the three chords of the blues under them, but in fact, it’s just one chord and it’s modal. So I look at the history of the blues as kind of a struggle of a modal people to get their heads around the idea of a diatonic instrument and diatonic music. - Bob Brozman

( Brozman shares a few insteresting anecodes and plays a mean guitar - Ed)

Monday, 20 July 2009

POST # 129 Joe Pass on Drug Use

It all started when I split from home. I got the opportunity to go on the road and I went off with groups and trios. And I got introduced to drinking and all that. I was rebelling really and although I wasn't influenced by knowing that other jazz players were onto it, there was a point where there was a definite identifying with that, because it was part of the whole scene. It's just part of the environment and still is; but that doesn't mean that you have got to get caught up in it. But I thought that was the way to go, and I went from one thing to another and that's how I got started. I got heavily involved and people were saying, 'You'd better cool it, you'd better stop.' But I mean - I couldn't hear anything they said. Everybody, people close to me, my family; I didn't hear them; you never do.

I was there for two and a half years. I didn't do a lot of playing then. In fact, when I got there the guitar had absolutely no meaning for me and they said, 'OK, the guitar, put it in the corner and forget it!' Like, you don't play the guitar, because that's something that stands in your way. So I didn't play the guitar for a long time, I did other things, like straighten out my head and my person. Later, I maybe played the guitar on Saturday and then perhaps Friday and Saturday.
But the most I feel I've accomplished has been after that scene. Using drugs didn't help me to play, all it did was to hang me up for about fifteen years. - Joe Pass

( Sometimes a musicians personal struggle and triumph over adversity is as inspiring as the music they created. - Ed)

Sunday, 19 July 2009

POST # 128 Martin Taylor on Tommy Emmanuel and Touring

It's always tough when you go to another country and try to establish. It doesn't matter how famous you are somewhere else. And that got him. We just gave him that little help in the beginning, James and I, and then he just absolutely went through the ceiling. He never stops touring....Well, he's got a house in Nashville. [Laughing] I know the first year he had that house I said, "How are you enjoying the house in Nashville?" and he said, "I've been there for two weeks this year"...Yeah, he works. People say to me, they go to my website and see my tour dates and say, "You work a lot," and I say, "Go onto Tommy's website. He's working constantly." - Martin Taylor

( Watch the hard working Australian at work in this amazing guitar piece. - Ed )

Saturday, 18 July 2009

POST # 127 Miles Davis on his Stage Presence.

" I'm there because I know how to play music better than most musicians. I mean, my conception is considered by musicians to be top, you know. And I know it; that's the reason I'm there. Those people should know that, that I'm not out there grinning, Tomming. I'm out there doing the best that I can, My lip is cut and I'm still playing. I'm not trying to be cute. I know how I look. I'm not messing around with nobody's woman. If I want a woman I go get her—you know what I mean? So I'm just there performing. I'm straight. Actually, I think, old–fashioned, you know. I'm just straight." - Miles Davis

( Music as Entertainment vs Music as Art...or can it be both? Does how you present your music affect the quality of your music? Perhaps some types of music takes greater concentration to play? I think first and foremost every musician playing live wants to sound good, thats why the Beatles quit touring when they couldn't hear themselves above all the screaming fans. And back to Miles... I don't think he's anti show business...I mean look at some of the funky clothings he was wearing from the 70s onwards!! It's more a rebellion against cultural stereotypes that he felt was typcast at the time. Btw I think both clips below are fantastic /entertaining in their own way. - Ed)

Friday, 17 July 2009

POST # 126 John Coltrane on Mile Davis and Modal Jazz

"I found Miles in the midst of another stage of musical development." he said. "It seemed that he was moving . . . to the use of fewer and fewer chord changes in songs. He used tunes with free-flowing lines and chordal direction.
"In fact, due to the direct and free-flowing lines in his music, I found it easy to apply the harmonic ideas that I had. I could stack up the chords . . . I could play three chords at once. But on the other hand, if I wanted to, I could play melodically. Miles music gave me plenty of freedom. . ." - John Coltrane

( I love modal jazz, its hypnotic with the (almost) static chord a meditation gives the soloist a lot of freedom to explore. Here we got Miles and Trane doing So What and Martino covering Trane's Impressions - Ed)

Thursday, 16 July 2009

POST # 125 Angus Young on Recording Solos

George would sit with me and we sould do solos: I would tell George, “I’ll work out a bit for these sections,” and George would go, “No, just go. F*** the bum notes if it’s cookin’.” George was looking for energy, for the nice surprise. With Mutt, the operative was more to put it into a structure and keep it neat, so he’d keep going at you until it was right. Sometimes , though, it was a useless exercise. He’d run off a few tracks with different ideas, and then he would come to you and say, “Well, what were you playing in the beginning? Let’s go back to that.” [laughs]. - Angus Young

( I think the best solos have a flowing kind of quality to them, even if its planned out before hand and sometimes little mistakes in them actually makes it bit endearing. Angus takes no prisoners in Jail Break. - Ed)

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

POST # 124 Stochelo Rosenberg on Django's Improvisation No 1

I learned my technique from Django. By playing his music I developed the technique that I have now. It’s amazing if you think that he only played with two fingers while for us it’s hard to play with four -- or five, if you also use the thumb. I think it is hard to believe that he could only use two fingers, especially when I listen to Improvisation #1. The chords and the licks you hear are incredible. - Stochelo Rosenberg

( Stochelo pays tribute to Django playing Improvisation No 1 - Ed)

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

POST # 123 How Miles Davis got his Whispery Voice

Miles chuckled softly at a question concerning all the far-out Miles Davis stories that are in circulation. "They're probably all true," he said. There's the one about how he lost his voice (the Davis voice is a legend unto itself): He had a throat operation in the early Fifties and was not supposed to speak for a period of time, but he became so angry at a record company owner that he began to shout; from that moment, so the story goes, he has not been able to talk above a hoarse, rasping whisper. Another version of the story substitutes a booking agent for the record company man. - The Rolling Stone Interview

( The Legendary Miles Davis in a funny interview on Arsenio Hall Show in the 80's - Ed)

Monday, 13 July 2009

POST # 122 Malcolm Young on Rhythm Guitar

… when we got onstage it was just obvious that I should sit in the back and keep time, because Angus, as soon as he put on that school uniform, he started going all over the place. It evolved very naturally. And I loved it because I always enjoyed the rhythm side, just keeping it tight and getting the groove going. When that’s on the money there’s no better feeling. – Malcolm Young

( One of my favourate Rock'n'roll rhythm guitarist, right up there with Keef I say. - Ed)

Sunday, 12 July 2009

POST # 121 Creed Taylor on Wes Montgomery and Art vs Commerce

When I began producing Wes' Verve recordings, he seemed very level-headed and willing to try a new direction. I gave him a record by Little Anthony And The Imperials called "Goin' Out Of My Head" to see if he could do a version of it that would attract a wider audience. After listening to it, he said, "You must be goin' out of yours!" But I told him I had already talked to arranger Oliver Nelson about doing it in a way that would be interesting for him to play on. I asked him to at least do the melody in straight octaves, which was something he hadn't done very much for Riverside. Goin' Out Of My Head [Verve] solidified our relationship, because he began getting better gigs and making more money. At the same time, critics began saying I was a son of a bitch for dressing him up with strings. We took a lot of flack, but it didn't hurt. ….. Wes was getting $10,000 per concert just before he died, which was four times what he could have made in a whole week at a club gig. He was very happy with the success. There's that constant debate about artistry and maintaining integrity. It was very much a commercial venture, although Wes and I certainly knew that there was the artistic side of it. Today, Wynton Marsalis is a fat cat at Lincoln Center who can do whatever he wants artistically and still make a lot of money. We didn't have that kind of environment back then. - Creed Taylor

( I prefer Wes' jazz sides but I guess you have to view his more commercial sides on its own merit as pop instrumentals. Can't blame Wes for wanting a better life for him and his children! - Ed )

Saturday, 11 July 2009

POST # 120 Bireli Lagrene on Knowing the Neck of the Guitar

Yeah, I think what is more difficult is to know the neck very well. To know where every chord is and where every note on the neck is. Instead of learning a tune, my theory is you have to learn where every note is on the neck. Like a C, you have to be able to play it in four or five different positions. And when you don’t know that, that can be a struggle for any tune. So I spent a lot of time on that. - Bireli Lagrene

( Bireli throws in a few famous 'quotes' in Minor Swing! - Ed)

Friday, 10 July 2009

POST # 119 George Lynch on Eddie Van Halen

I remember my reaction when I first heard Eddie. I had been hearing about this guy with the weird European name. He’s got a torpedo onstage, the bass player wears clogs, they have bombs onstage, and the guy’s unbelievable. I saw him and it blew my mind. – George Lynch

(Some vintage Eddie Van Halen - Ed)

Thursday, 9 July 2009

POST # 118 Bill Evans on Jazz Improvisation

There is a Japanese visual art in which the artist is forced to be spontaneous. He must paint on a thin stretched parchment with a special brush and a black water paint in such a way that an unnatural or interrupted stroke will destroy the line or break through the parchment. Erasures or changes are impossible. These artists must practice a particular discipline, that of allowing the idea to express itself in communicition with their hands in such a direct way that deliberation cannot interfere. The resulting pictures lack the complex composition and textures of ordinary painting, but it is said that those who see will find something captured that escapes explanation. This conviction that direct deed is the most meaningful reflection, I believe, has prompted the evolution of the extremely severe and unique disciplines of the jazz or improvising musician. - Bill Evans

( Very eloquently expressed by the equally eloquent Bill Evans. That's why I love jazz, whether playing or listening...the spontaneous creation of beautiful music. Bill plays with guitarist Jim Hall on the albumn Undercurrent. I also love Bill's Interplay albumn with Jim Hall, Hubbard, etc...lots of sensitive playing and interaction between these talented musicians. - Ed)

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

POST # 117 Scott Henderson on Music School and Transcribing

If I had any words of wisdom, I would just say that transcription is really the key to everything. I mean, some guys think, “Ok, I’ve gotta go to music school, and I’ve gotta spend a lot of money to do this, or to do that, or to learn that.” Music school really is just about communicating to other people what to call this, or what to call that. It’s never gonna substitute for doing the work of just sitting down and learning stuff from your records. That’s how ninety percent of the great musicians today have learned how to play — by listening to other players, copying them at first, but discovering your own voice later. You copy from a lot of different people and keep your range as wide as possible — that’s really the key to getting better, faster. The more input there is, the more output there is. – Scott Henderson

( Going to music school, taking lessons, buying a new piece of gear..etc aren't gonna make you a better guitarist if you ain't prepared to put in the hard work yourself! Here Scott gives a nice short lesson on a cool lick. - Ed)

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

POST # 116 Charlie Hunter on Jim Campilongo and Fender Princeton Amps

I have to give credit to Jim Campilongo, who is my kind of guitar hero. I had always pooh-poohed Princetons as practice amps until I went to one of his gigs and heard the huge sound. – Charlie Hunter

( Here Jim Campilongo plays his trademark country / jazz sounds on a reissue Fender Princeton for Fender Musical Corp. Gorgeous hauntingly clean sound. - Ed)

Monday, 6 July 2009

POST # 115 Larry LaLonde on being a Musician

Watching the most amazing guitarist (Joe Satriani) on the planet three feet away from me in a tiny lesson room gave me the confidence that real people could be even cooler than the guys with the hairspray and leather and fog machines. He really opened my eyes to the idea that the guitar was a piece of wood with strings and pickups that could be used in any way. – Larry LaLonde

( There is the music BUSINESS then there is the MUSIC...they are not neccesarily the same thing. Here Satch sits down with his former student Vai to have bit of a jam. - Ed)

Sunday, 5 July 2009

POST # 114 Les Paul on Django Reinhardt and Bebop

And there were many other thrills, such as playing with Django Reinhardt. In 1946, Django went electric after he heard me playing with my band. He hid for three years to learn bebop. I told him not to and so did Eddie Lang. It ended up not being a good idea for him. – Les Paul

( Perhaps not as commercially successful or as well known, but I found electric Django as exciting as Hot Club Django! He still displayed wonderful chops on the electric. Playing with what must have that been like? ..... Compare the acoustic Bellevile from the electric Fine and Dandy...I do find his guitar sounds more focused on the acoustic with more bite and attack. - Ed)

Saturday, 4 July 2009

POST # 113 Wes Montgomery on John Coltrane

"There is only one coloured musician with that facility and that's Coltrane. I have listened to him a lot and I'm sure of it. I even took his album, Giant Steps, and played it at 16 r.p.m. to study what he was doing and every note he hit was correct. I think he is greater than Charlie Parker in this respect because Bird died before he could finish what he was doing. But Trane has had the time and the opportunity and he is the only one with that facility." - Wes Montgomery

( Coltrane's Giant Steps played back and transcribed at real time! - Ed)

Friday, 3 July 2009

POST # 112 Wes Montgoery on Technical Facility and Race

"The ofay cat has a technical facility and the Negro has that feeling for jazz. But take an instrument like guitar. In every part of the world white cats could pick it up five hundred or six hundred years ago and they had all that time to get ready. The Negro had to wait for it to be dropped in his lap fifty years ago but after a while he was playing it and getting a whole lot of feeling out of it. But he couldn't get that technical facility. And in fact, I've never heard a coloured guitar player who could come up to the technical standard of some of the great white guitarists. For that reason I don't bother too much about the technical side of guitar. I just concentrate on the feeling". - Wes Montgomery

( Everyone is a product of their times, Wes is no exception, who still uses words like Ofay and Negro !! The old debate rages on...can you still play jazz , blues authentically if you are not black? Depends on how you define authentic, and I think its more the 'culture' you grew up in rather then 'race' that determines your sound/feel. Here's a rare clip of Wes rehearsing West Coast Blues with a horn section. - Ed)

Thursday, 2 July 2009

POST # 111 Hiromi Uehara on Playing with Emotions and Music Genres

"Her energy was always so high, and she was so emotional," Hiromi says of her first piano teacher. "When she wanted me to play with a certain kind of dynamics, she wouldn't say it with technical terms. If the piece was something passionate, she would say, 'Play red.' Or if it was something mellow, she would say, 'Play blue.' I could really play from my heart that way, and not just from my ears."

"It expanded so much the way I see music," she says. "Some people dig jazz, some people dig classical music, some people dig rock. Everyone is so concerned about who they like. They always say, 'This guy is the best,' 'No, this guy is the best.' But I think everyone is great. I really don't have barriers to any type of music. I could listen to everything from metal to classical music to anything else." - Hiromi Uehara

( Here Berklee graduate Hiromi tears through a jazzy/rock version of Beck's Led Boots featuring David Fiuczynski on guitar. - Ed)

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

POST # 110 Joe Pass on Listening to other Instruments for Influences

" Yes, but at one point I sort of drifted towards listening to pianists, Bud Powell, Al Haig and Art Tatum. I remember when Art Tatum had a trio with Tiny Grimes. I thought Wow!' I listened to Tiny, but it was the piano - that was the one. And then I listened to a lot of horn players - Charlie Parker, Dizzy, Stan Getz and Coleman Hawkins, and I got more influenced by horn players than anyone else." - Joe Pass

( Here Chick Corea introduces a clip of Art Tatum in a playful mood with his trio. I remeber once reading in the Oscar Peterson autobiography and I am just paraphrasing here... that Joe Pass is one of his favourate 'piano' players! Meaning that although a guitarist, Joe's jazz lines are not confined to typical guitar licks and draws inspiration from all the jazz greats of other instruments including jazz pianists. -Ed )

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