Archive for the ‘Great guitarists’ Category

The great Lester William Polsfuss would have been 99 today! That’s Les Paul to you and me. Not only did he design the guitars that bear his name but also invented multitrack recording. Difficult to imagine what music would have been like if he hadn’t been around.

He was also a very successful recording artist in the 50s with his wife Mary Ford. He kept playing almost up to the day he died, five years ago. Here he is playing with another guitar hero: Jeff Beck.

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I first saw John McLaughlin in the first incarnation of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. That’s going back a long way, but in all that time he’s never stopped exploring and pushing the boundaries and his incredible technique are always at the service of the music, whether that’s jazz, fusion, indian music, flamenco-influenced music…

He’s a great collaborator, and one of the most productive unions has been with the great flamenco guitarist Paco De Lucia – often with others but also, as here, simply in duet. Well, perhaps “simply” isn’t the best choice of words…

This is a recording of a concert in Freiburg in 1987

Songs & composers:

  • 00:35 Spain (Chick Corea)
  • 10:25 Chiquito (Paco de Lucia)
  • 19:44 Florianapolis (John Mclaughlin)
  • 31:00 Caña de azucar (Paco de Lucia)
  • 36:42 Frevo rasgado (Egberto Sigmonti)
  • 45:33 David (John McLaughlin)

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Joe Pass and Ella Fitzgerald live in concert

I’ve said before that I’m a big Joe Pass fan, and I love his duet recordings with the wonderful Ella Fitzgerald; so it was a great treat to find this concert recording on YouTube.

The first half features Joe playing solo, as brilliant as ever. Then Ella joins him, and seeing (as well as hearing) the two of them together is just unbelievable. Quite apart from their skills as a player and a singer it’s a great demonstration of virtuoso listening, the way they lock together and play off each other.

Ella gets the words wrong on Nature Boy – so they just do it all over again! Reassuring for us mere mortals…

The tracks are:

Joe Pass solo:

With Ella Fitzgerald:

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Joe Pass: Misty

I’m a big Joe Pass fan. Joe was the first mainstream jazz guitarist I really listened to, especially through his amazing duet recordings with Ella Fitzgerald.

If you haven’t listened to their first duet album, Take Love Easy, give yourself a treat and do so. Lush Life, Billy Strayhorn’s great standard, is particularly outstanding and is one of my all-time favourite tracks.

Joe was a master of pretty much everything, but it’s his brilliant chord solo work that always blows me away.

Keep an eye out for Joe Pass transcriptions coming soon to this website!

Meanwhile here’s a great video of Joe playing solo on the Errol Garner‘s song Misty.

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There’s a great interview with Kenny Burrell in the Guitar Player Vaults.

Kenny talks about his early development, his influences, how he got into professional playing, his artistic philosophy and his equipment.

If, like me, you think Kenny Burrell is one of the really significant figures in jazz guitar then click on the link and enjoy the read.

The edition also features a classic Guitar Player interview with James Honeyman-Scott, lessons with Mike Stern and Leslie West, three FREE full-song transcriptions, and much more.

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Stanley Jordan is one of those guitarists who just goes his own way and develops a unique style and sound. He’s taken the two-handed tapping technique and developed it in a highly original way. And we’re not talking metal here, but jazz.

The two-handed technique allows him to combines chord work, melody, bass and counterpoint in his playing, sometimes on two guitars simultaneously. He normally tunes them in fourths, E – A – D – G – C – F,

Jazz might be his mainstay, but here’s a cool clip of him interpreting a rock masterpiece – Stairway To Heaven.

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This is a great song. The great guitarist Frank Evans once told me this was one of his favourites and I feel the same way. And here’s a great master at work on it. Barney Kessel is perhaps a bit less widely appreciated nowadays than he should be. He kicks off with some great chord melody playing here, followed by two stunning choruses where the rest of the trio joins in. That sweep picking really brings a smile to my face – hope it does to yours!

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It may only be March, but here’s an early taste of summer. A cracking version of Summertime with Kenny Burrell on guitar and Grover Washington, Jr. on soprano sax. Kenny sets up a great and simple dorian riff in the intro that just falls into place on guitar – one to add to my list of future transcriptions.

This is from the “One Night With Blue Note” concert/DVD (1985). Well worth checking out.

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