Monday, April 14, 2008

.....and all that jazz.........

I can recall the year, though not the precise moment, when I discovered something outside of rock. Don't get me wrong, as I still love the music that I grew up with; The Who, Pink Floyd, The Band, The Ramones, Talking Heads, and various other groups. In 1977 however, my senior year in high school, things changed. Two albums came out that year that made me do a double-take on my musical outlook.

The first was Steely Dan's "Aja." Now, I always liked their stuff....a lot, actually. But, for some odd reason, I never made the connection between their rock roots, and their jazz roots. All that changed when Aja came on by. The second album, Weather Report's "Heavy Weather," started me down the path of exploring a musical form that, beforehand, was nothing more than something an obscure outcropping of some PBS show. I really never experienced jazz before, and these two albums became my "gateway drug" into the form.

I discovered not only jazz, but blues as well, and while in college, I had a roommate with a huge album collection of jazz and blues, as well as rock. I began to revel in such things as "Bitches Brew," "Black Market," and other recordings by Bird, Trane, Ella, and others. Also, in the early 80's, along came Stevie Ray Vaughn, and blues again was turned on its ear. He played SUNY Buffalo in 1984, and I, not knowing who he was at the time, wondered what planet this guy dropped off of. I got the feeling that this is what it was like for the generation just before mine that experienced Hendrix for the first time.

I eventually got taken in by Pat Metheny, who is regarded as one of the finest (some would say the finest) jazz guitarists on the planet. The guy just blows me away. Take a look below, and you'll see why. His drummer, Antonio Sanchez, is no slouch either. He has been playing with Metheny since 2000, when Paul Wertico left the Pat Metheny Group after 18 years.


Guyana-Gyal said...

Hi Suspect, my second brother [the one who lives in Florida where you don't like :-D ] introduced me to Leadbelly, king of the 12 string guitar, now I don't know what kinda music that is, but he's rather interesting.

When I'm filthy stinking rich I'm going to buy every kind of music to listen to and a good sound system.


Mr. Nighttime said...

Hey GG,
Ledbelly was the nickname for Huddie Ledbetter, one of the the foremost blues singers of his time. He had a huge influence on many modern blues singers, especially people like Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and a host of others.

You can catch Eric Clapton doing one of Ledbelly's songs, "Alberta," here:

VioletSky said...

I noticed in your profile you had Pat Metheny listed. When I 'discovered' him I could find very few people who had heard of him, or cared. I felt very alone in my musical tastes. Also with Weather Report and Steely Dan's 'Aja'. I still have that album, and am now going to play it again for nostalgia's sake.

P.S. BTW thanks for the falconcam link. Interesting how every one takes a slightly different approach to their site. Last year I was a part of falconwatch and I got so attached to the guys that I missed them when they finally flew off on their own.

Mr. Nighttime said...

VS - My kid brother got me into Pat Metheny back in the early 80's, and I have been hooked since.

As for Steely Dan, I saw them last year at Turning Stone, just outside of Syracuse. I was not disappointed. Speaking of Aja, I had the great honor of interviewing drummer Steve Gadd here in Rochester about a year and a half ago. Sadly, the article did not get published, (long, long story, stupid editor tricks.) but he was the nicest and gracious of gentlemen. He is a Rochester native, and was still living here at the time.