Posts Tagged John Mclaughlin
We’ve all got our own story of how we came to love jazz music and specifically jazz guitar, maybe some of you came to it recently or some of you were lucky enough to have been exposed to it at a younger age. For me I was lucky enough when I was 15 to be leant an album on cassette called “The Jazz Guitar Album” and it all started there for me. As a teenager in my bedroom playing guitar, listening to The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix the jazz guitar tape give me lots of questions but sadly not very many answers -’what on earth were they playing!?’ Although I didn’t *dislike* it, I didn’t really know what to make of it either. The names on the tape sounded very exotic like the music within – Oscar Moore, Django Reinhardt, Bola Sete, Herb Ellis etc.
“The Jazz Guitar Album” Verve 2683065
1. Howard Roberts – Relaxin’ At Camarillo
Talk about a shot in the arm to start with! A great Parker bop track taken with incredible energy and an all round great group performance. I love the solo he takes on this; a less natural intuitive guitarist may have gone for another take to try and get it ‘perfect’ but you’d never get close to this again. For such a great natural guitarist it’s interesting to note that he’s remembered more for his involvement with education.
2. Kenny Burrell – Terrace Theme
Cool. Very cool. This track sounds like it might be a straight forward blues but then shows it’s hand with some slinky harmony over the B section. What a sound Kenny gets, I’m not sure anyone got a sound like him in jazz/blues.
3. Billy Bauer – It’s A Blue World
If you talk to any guitarist about close harmony jazz guitar they will no doubt (and quite rightly) talk about Johnny Smith BUT one of the greatest exponents was Billy Bauer. One of the (almost) forgotten greats of jazz guitar, please do search out this track as it’s such a great performance and if anyone has time to transcribe it then drop me a line!
4. Les Spann – Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams
Ah Dizzy Gillespie, one of my obsessions from a few years ago (and the name of my cat). This tune is not one that many modern jazzers have played (Bill Evans did as well as Diz) and I’m not sure why as it’s a great tune with some great movement in the chords in the B section to play off. Not content with being a great guitarist Les Spann was a flute player of great skill too.
5. Charlie Christian – AC-DC Current
One of the founding forefathers of the modern jazz guitar movement. Still can’t fathom how he imagined and played all that great music before passing away too young at only 25 years old- just think about that!
6. Barney Kessel – All The Things You Are
7. Herb Ellis – Gravy Waltz
Two more masters of jazz guitar. Such great taste and tone; performances like these makes you realise why they were such legends.
8. Jim Hall – All Across The City
This really stuck out in amongst the other tracks on this album and it’s such a sparse arrangement compared to a lot of the others just featuring Bill Evans and Jim. A lovely melody and one that sticks with you and makes you realise that sometimes less is more.
9. Bola Sete – Soul Samba
Bola was discovered by Dizzy Gillespie and went on to carve out a great career which blended together Samba and Jazz in a creative and energetic way, miles apart from the Bossa Nova movement. In recent years having seen his performances on Youtube I can say that he was the happiest guitarist in the world, so infectious! To my ears at the time this tune sounded a little odder compared to the others, less chord movement but more rhythm and percussion in the guitar playing. What a master!
10. Grant Green – That Lucky Old Sun
I could write an essay on Grant Green (maybe I will one day) and how he influenced my playing. I go through Grant Green obsessional phases every so often but I have to say that this isn’t in my favourites list. It’s not a bad performance (except maybe the slightly out of tune flute) but there’s lots more to celebrate in the Grant Green back catalogue.
11. Tal Farlow – I Remember You
Another stunning performance and one which I transcribed a few years ago. Tal really played unlike anyone else mainly because of his physical attributes; he had big hands and dwarfed any guitar he played and made big interval leaps easy and therefore they just became part of his jazz language. Everyone else was blown away including a young George Benson who has cited Tal amongst others as a big influence.
12. Laurindo Almeida – Samba Da Sahra
Very stylish track with the ever smooth tones of Stan Getz. Great chord movement in this self penned tune, deserves to be played more.
13. Django Reinhardt – Nuages
His signature tune this time performed with a big band, some lovely artificial harmonics in the solo.
14. George Benson – What’s New
I’ve listened to so much GB in my life and this track was a great introduction to start searching out his work. Worth noting the great young Herbie Hancock on this track.
15. Wes Montgomery – Four On Six
Not a lot can be said of Wes that hasn’t been said already. Every note of this is carved into our heads, what a great solo!
16. Johnny Smith – Sweet Lorraine
It turns out that this was a fairly rare track. All the amazing trademark chord work is present and correct, I literally couldn’t work out (and still can’t) how this was at all possible!
17. Oscar Moore – Oscar’s Blues
18. Jimmy Raney – Buddy’s Blues
Oscar Moore was one of the important early exponents of modern jazz guitar and Jimmy Raney was one of the bebop masters. I’m glad these tracks were on the album as I looked further into their playing in later years and found much to listen to.
19. Charlie Byrd – Samba Triste
Early on I got the Byrd/Getz albums and they are essential listening to students of jazz, such great playing and compositions.
20. John McLaughlin – Binky’s Beam
Now this one really foxed me as there seemed to be some clever odd time signature stuff happening in this track and it had a great raw sound to it. It spurred me onto discover probably one of the most influential musicians I’ve ever heard. Not traditional jazz guitar, something very new and exciting was happening here..
A year or so after that there was an offer in the Sunday paper where you had to collect some tokens to receive a free CD. There were 4 in the collection (Saxes, Groups, Piano and Guitar) and I managed to get all of them mainly because I was still intrigued and I recognised a couple of names of the players.
“The Great Jazz Guitarists” OJCGS1 (1994)
1. Charlie Byrd Trio “Let’s Do It”
2. Joe Pass “She’s Funny That Way”
3. Barney Kessell “Easy Like”
4. Barney Kessell “Tenderly”
5. Wes Montgomery “Repetition”
6. Wes Montgomery “D Natural Blues”
7. Wes Montgomery “Four on Six”
8. Barney Kessell “My Old Flame”
9. Barney Kessell “Jeepers Creepers”
10. Kenny Burrell “I Didn’t Know About You”
There was no looking back now and the other CD’s in the collection started to broaden my appreciation especially for Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. Joe Pass’ tune on this album was the first time I’d heard anyone deal with jazz on a guitar as a solo instrument. I loved that tune so much I tried to learn it from the album and although I thought I had it down pretty much perfect, time and wisdom showed me otherwise. Oh well I was never going to be a solo jazz guitarist!
Do search out these artist and tunes if they are unfamiliar to you and hopefully they will inspire you like they did (and do) to me.
Although himself not a jazz guitarist, I feel his passing deserves recognition as his music had such passion, soul and other worldly skill to it. I first came into contact with his music through a woodwind repairer at our shop who gave me a tape of “Friday Night in San Francisco” years ago and it flipped my head as I’d never heard guitar playing like it! Subsequently in 1996 I went out to buy “Antologia” which at the time was only available on import (£30 and I was skint!) but it proved to be an outstandingly good purchase as it still gets listened to on a regular basis. At that time I didn’t really understand how his career had moved flamenco forward into world music and into the ears and hearts of people around the world but now understanding a bit more about that really brings the music a whole new edge.
My favourite Paco tracks are ‘Zyrab’, the truly incredible ‘Guijaras de Lucia’, Rio Ancho, ‘Monasterio de Sal’, and his contributions to the 3 Guitar Trio albums.
I’ll leave you with a track from John McLaughlin’s mid 90’s album which saw a reprise of the guitar trio for the track that John wrote with Paco in mind ‘El Ciego’
Just doing this really quickly as I’m about to rush down to London to see Remember Shakti as part of the London Jazz Festival week. I’ve been lucky enough to see them twice before and I can’t wait to see them again…!
Anyway I’m just doing a quick post as Adam Taylor contacted me regarding a couple of special events he is running in Oxford, I’ll let him explain.
I have a two week guitar extravaganza coming up and thought it would be something you and your followers would be interested in. I have two great guitarists coming and would love to make the nights as successful as possible. Next week (Mon 25th Nov) I have Dan Messore playing at the club, with myself and a great rhythm section. Then the week after (Mon 2nd Dec) Pete Oxley and the spin trio plus me will be performing.
Here are the fb links with the info and website links:
Mon 25th Nov Dan Messore:
Mon 2nd Dec Pete Oxley:
And here is my website:
If you are in the area please do support!
John McLaughlin!!!! How strange after just doing the transcription the other day. I met him at Frankfurt Musikmesse by accident with the master virtuoso percussionist V. Selvaganesh from the amazing “Remember Shakti”
I knocked this up earlier….enjoy!
In the mid 60’s I played rhythm guitar in a fairly regulation type r ‘n b
group in the Lancaster area having made fair copies of a Fender Jazz Bass and a Stratocaster for a ‘name’ guitarist who later became a top London session player. I imagine that Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry were the sounds that first caught my ear and of course the first Elvis album ( Blue Moon, Mystery Train etc., ). Bizaarly, I then heard Monty Sunshine play Petite Fleur (jazz!) in Chris Barber’s band and later the music of Sydney
Bechet and so took up clarinet for three or so years learning to reading in
After a career in design, teaching and retail management which left little
free time, I returnedto the guitar when my wife and I moved to Derbsyhire in the mid-1990s and for some time focussed on BB King and in particular Chicago Blues. My first lessons were with Andy Gatford in a back room at Foulds and I still have his excellent notes to crib from now when
I give the odd lesson! The instrument itself brought me to jazz and although
Wes had caught my ear in the 60’s it was not until we retired here to South -West France that I really became aware of the diversity of jazz guitar. Additionally, every town in this part of France has a music college and all French youngsters are taught Solfège. There is tremendous enthusiasm for music ‘en direct’ ie live and the span of genres is mind boggling but even here
( 1 1/2 hours north of Toulouse ) there are many pro and semi-pro jazz trios and quartets playing bebop and standards although not surprisingly the predominant style is manouche or gypsy jazz.
Jazz jam sessions hereabouts ( we are in a rural area ) are fairly thin on
the ground and in spite of my earlier comment re-pro level gigs the scope for ‘advanced beginner/intermediate’ players is fairly limited. Jamming with friends is very much the order of the day and I meet regularly with an English friend here who writes jingles and film music and has a profesional studio. He tends to lay down piano tracks and then we work on standards for fun. I have until recently been one of three ‘programmateurs’ who choose the headline acts for the Cahors Blues Festival ( oldest in France: www.cahorsbluesfestival.com ) and have played from time to time with committee members. I have also co-organised one or two charity
concerts here ie Tsunami, Haiti (Gary Brooker et al )etc. and this has
resulted in useful 1:1 jamming situations.
Of course, at my age ( a young 65ans! ) I just need the extra 10,000 hours
to get together my chops!!
When I left the UK ( almost 8 years ago now ) Dan was just getting together
his jazz guitar stock and archtops seemed much less interesting at that time. I seem to recall purchasing one acoustic flattop and one Strat from the
shop and a Laney amp ( or maybe the Fender DeLuxe 90 ). However, almost as soon as we arrived here I bought an Ibanez Artcore jobbie and loved the feel and tone although I now realise how humble it was. Shortly after, I was
in touch with the guy who established Peerless Guitars in the UK having
ordered a Jazz City direct from Korea. This resulted in my establishing numerous retail accounts from Toulouse to Bordeaux for Peerless. I also found a number of endorsees including Big Jim Sullivan and Bill Nelson for the marque and set up the link with Matt Otten who has had 1000,000s of hits on You Tube with the 2 models I sent him. I later on somehow ( quite legitimately! ) acquired a Peerless Monarch and a Renaissance Custom for my troubles. I love both guitars ( both all-solid )but find the mini- humbucker on the Monarch a little thin sounding and routinely play the guitar through a Boss EQ and the Renaissance Custom ( 330 clone ) now
has a Benedetto A6 in the neck – love it. They keep company with a Baja Tele
( SD Alnico II in the neck ) and French Lag Tramontane acoustic for ‘grab
My ‘Desert Island’ choice is probably an Eastman depending upon my pension ‘lump sum’ when it arrives!
BEST (JAZZ GUITAR) GIG
Not sure how to quantify this one. I feel I ought to include John McLaughlin – Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1974 . However in recent years we have seen excellent concerts ( mostly at the fantastic Marciac Jazz Festival in
the Gers ) Al de Meola and Stanley Clarke and twice now, the incredible
Bireli Lagrene ( bebop as well as the manouche material.) Off to see him in
Nerac with Sylvan Luc in a couple of weeks. Last October we also saw John
Scofield with his trio at the Jazz Sur 31 festival ( 60 concerts in and
around Toulouse each autumn. Spoilt for choice! Best thing here too is the
average age of the audience at these gigs – mostly around 30ans.
GUITARISTS TO CHECK OUT
For me, BIRELI LAGRENE is probably one of the greatest living guitarists –
forget all the magazine surveys! Just catch him if you can. This is the guy
who had the entire repertoire of Django down by the time he appeared at the
Montreux Festival aged 14ans! Beyond that, I rate highly, Anthony Wilson (
who plays with Diana Krall ), Ted Greene, Pat Martino, Wes Montgomery, MIMI FOX, Bobby Broom, Grant Green, John Scofield, Russell Malone, Joe Pass and of course the vastly underrated Jimmy Bruno.
My initial influence from the perspective of the guitar starts with Jimi Hendrix. He, like other similar artists opened up the guitars capability. Working alongside Dan influenced the majority of music and artists I listen to today. During this time I have been introduced to: Indian music through Shakti with John Mclaughin, Flamenco/Classical music, and most importantly Jazz The players that have influenced me in Jazz are: George Benson, Johnny Smith, Barney Kessel, Jim Hall, Ted Greene, Lenny Breau, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery and Dan Johnson.
Currently I can only seem to manage a couple of gigs a month. We are very lucky to even have this opportunity to play the music we want too, rather than ‘restaurant’ music. Most of my time is spent in the woodshed at the moment as well as balancing all the things that are happening right now. I have been enjoying a duo with a bass player recently as this really encourages me to stretch my ideas over the course of an evening whilst attempting to keep interest. A future project would be to build on this format, coaxing the many possibilities with a view to perform more and record.
I am always lusting after guitars and over the years have owned many different types. Currently I am playing a D’aquisto Jazzline Junior (Japan), with its laminate construction and size the guitar is very comfortable to play and handles loud volume. The ‘Desert Island’ guitar would be the Tom Painter P-16 with its fantastic sound, although I would imagine the Benedetto guitars would certainly tempt anyone.
JAZZ GUITAR GIG
Joe Giglio w/ Bucky Pizzarelli, New York at the 107 West, circa 2006. This was perhaps the most significant gig of them all. It was my first time in NYC, taking in the wonderful surroundings, with a developing curiosity for Jazz. The warm reception I received from Joe, not to mention the extravagant guitar playing that I was blown away by, made my mind up on the music I wanted to study and enjoy. I have also had the opportunity to see Pat Metheny, Pat Martino, George Benson, John Mclaughlin, Phil Robson, Howard Alden, Jack Wilkins and many more.
I would always seek ‘local’ players out to share ideas with……… and hopefully gigs!! As well as the tremendous players listed above I would suggest: Tony DeCaprio, Sheryl Bailey, Tuck Andress, Gary Potter, Jimmy Bruno. Two players that amaze me with their ability to capture the essence of Bill Evans on the guitar are: Stephen Anderson and Sid Jacobs.
What/who were your initial influences?
I originally got into jazz through the Jazz/Funk scene and the resurgence of jazz/funk/soul compilations in the 90’s. A lot of that music had become cheap for people to put out on albums as it wasn’t popular at the time so there was loads of one hit wonders and vaults of stuff that was available for release. I was (and still am) a massive James Brown fan and found very quickly that a lot could be learnt about phrasing from the Godfather of soul and Grant Green. Those two shaped my early woeful attempts at playing jazz, least I had some idea of phrasing if not any idea what was going on harmonically! I used to (and still do!) see Phil Robson play loads of gigs in Derby and he’s always playing great, encouraging and sets a high standard to try and get to! These days I seem to listen to lots of sax players.
Are you gigging much at the moment and any projects in the pipeline?
I am gigging as much as I have time and creative energy for which is usually 2 or 3 a month or so depending on whats happening. It’s not a great deal but I do have a full time job as well. Currently I play with a modal, slightly odd, Hammond jazz quartet as well as guesting with various duos and trios. I would like to try and get a gtr/upright bass/drums combo together, I’ve got a plan of who to use and ideas for tunes are coming together slowly…!
What’s your ‘desert island’ guitar or have you got it!?
Well guitarwise I think I’ve got it with my Eastman T146SMD, it’s light responsive and got a great sound. Weirdly (working where I do) I’m not a great gear head when it comes to chopping and changing guitars all the time, I try to get something good and stick with it. I occasionally think I’d like a Benedetto Bravo, but they’re very expensive and might not give me the sound I want, I prefer having a bit of lightness to the sound rather than the traditional Joe Pass type of 175 sound. Don’t get me wrong, I love that sound but it just doesn’t work for me.
Best (jazz guitar) gig you’ve ever seen?
Difficult one….for out and out jazz guitar I think the Pat Martino at Ronnies was great, but I equally enjoyed the 2 times I’ve seen John McLaughlin with Shakti. Special mention to a set I saw George Benson do in California, wow!
Which guitarist(s) would you recommend for other people to check out?
I recently stumbled upon Adam Rogers who is great, I see him as a guitarist who is taking on the Brecker torch. He covers the whole spectrum of modern jazz and has got such facility on the instrument that he can seemingly just think aloud spontaneously through his instrument.