Check out my new interview with Jaimoe, a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band.
Two wings of equal strength endow a bird with the capacity to truly soar. This principle also helps to explain why Revelator (Sony, 2011), the debut album of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, has soared to #1 for blues releases on Amazon, #2 in rock, and #3 in all of music. This band brings together vocalist Susan Tedeschi, whose previous release in 2009 earned her a Grammy nomination, with slide guitarist Derek Trucks, who won the Grammy for his 2009 release. What’s particularly striking in this pairing is how evenly matched these exceptional talents are. Continue reading
2013 UPDATE: You can now download the audio of this interview, or stream it here
John Scofield is one of the world’s most influential and respected guitarists, a musician and composer who has worked with many of the greatest names in jazz: Chet Baker, Gary Burton, Billy Cobham, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Charles Mingus, Gerry Mulligan and scores of others. His 30 plus solo recordings have taken his fans on a remarkably wide-ranging musical journey – from straight ahead jazz, bebop, and fusion, to funky experimental outings with Medeski, Scofield, Martin, and Wood, and even gospel jazz fusion with his Piety Street Band. On his current album 54 (Emarcy, 2010), he is backed by a 50 plus piece orchestra, complete with strings, harps, brass, and woodwinds, and, as always, he somehow manages to play in a way that appeals to jazz aficionados and discerning guitarheads.
Fans of Soulive, Phil Lesh & Friends, Govt. Mule, and John Mayer are well aware that John Scofield is an exciting and soulful player, and this ability to be true to himself as a serious jazz artist, while also appealing to rock, R&B, and blues fans is what makes him so special. After watching him (@ Moogis.com) blow the roof off the Beacon when he sat in with the Allman Brothers Band on March 18, 2011, I thought it would be fascinating to talk to this jazz icon about coming of age in the ’60s & ’70s and get his take on the icons of blues rock. So this interview was conducted just a few days after that event.
Regular readers of this blog know that I publish my interviews on All About Jazz, but this year a major retrospective interview with John Scofield was already planned for the later part of 2011 to coincide with the release of his upcoming album A Moments Peace (Emarcy, 2011.) Nevertheless, he graciously agreed to this interview on blues rock guitar for Jazzamatazz, and I resisted the urge to ask him about jazz and his work with Miles and the other jazz greats – we can all look forward to that later this year on All About Jazz. Meanwhile, if you see any names you don’t recognize, or any of your favorites, be sure to check the hyper-links – there are even links to posters of concerts John saw as a high school student.
Jazzamatazz: First, as a blues fan I want to tell you how much I love your album Piety Street (2009, Universal Music). It’s one of those recordings where everything just seems to have fit together perfectly, from the material and musicians down to the great cover art. And the fact that you decided to do a gospel album in New Orleans and actually ended up in a studio on Piety Street, it just doesn’t get any better than that.
John Scofield: Yeah, it was one of those things, almost like being helped from above. It was also so much fun doing that record. Of course I knew the studio was on Piety Street, but it really didn’t register until I got down there.
Jazzamatazz: Jon Cleary was a great choice, it’s uncanny that a guy from England sings and plays piano like someone who grew up in the 9th Ward, and if that weren’t enough, he’s a fine guitarist.
John Scofield: Jon Cleary is just a major talent, and we did a year of touring after the album came out. It was wonderful working with him and he’s just become a great friend. He’s actually been into it for a long time, his story is rather interesting. His father and uncle were way into the music of New Orleans when he was a kid. So he grew up with New Orleans music playing around the house all the time, and his uncle was a musician. His sister was also really into it and had already moved down there, so when he was about age eighteen he was already playing and singing it, and at this point he’s lived down there for a long time.
Jazzamatazz: You’ve also had John Boutté who famously sings the theme song for HBO’s mini-series Treme. Have you had a chance to watch it, and are there any plans for you to appear in an episode?
John Scofield: Yes, that’s so great. We actually recorded Peity Street before that, and I was so happy to see that they used his music for the series. I actually watched one of the episodes with Jon Cleary in it, it’s very good. They haven’t asked me, but I’ll be there if they want me.
Jazzamatazz: You seem to have retained a rock energy when you need it, but other than a bit of B.B. King I can’t spot a particular influence from a blues or rock player. Were there any rock or blues player you listened to in your early years who had a lasting influence on you?
John Scofield: So first, there is influence, and then there are also people whom you like and respect. I liked and respected all of the blues players, and they all kind of played a bit like B.B. King, Otis Rush, Albert King and Freddie King. And I loved those guys, and Hendrix and Clapton, and I was a teenager when that first came out.
I started playing guitar at the end of 1963 just before the Beatles came over. [Laughing] I think I had my guitar out holding it when I was watching the Beatles on television on the Ed Sullivan Show. Continue reading
This was worth the price of admission! Donald Fagen of Steely Dan sits in.
Check out Susan Tedeschi in the background.
This photo from August 1969 shows people on the way to Woodstock. A month earlier they watched people walk on the Moon, Continue reading
Here’s another fantastic use of the Internet. If you haven’t watched “Live From Daryl’s House” yet, it’s time to discover something really wonderful — an intimate celebration of music. A particularly good show is the episode with the country singer Jimmy Wayne.
Below is a description from Daryl Hall’s website:
Daryl Hall started Live From Daryl’s House, the free monthly web show in late 2007, after having the idea of “playing with my friends and putting it up on the Internet,” and the show has since garnered acclaim from Rolling Stone, SPIN, Daily Variety,CNN, BBC, Yahoo! Music and influential blogger Bob Lefsetz, who have cited Live From Daryl’s House as a perfect example of a veteran artist reinventing himself in the digital age by collaborating with both established colleagues and newer performers.
Past episodes of Live from Daryl’s House have featured a mix of well-known performers like Smokey Robinson, The Doors’ Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek, Nick Lowe, K.T. Tunstall, Todd Rundgren, Gym Class Heroes’ Travis McCoy, Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, Finger Eleven’s James Black and Rick Jackett, the Bacon Brothers and country star Jimmy Wayne, along with newcomers such as Philly soul singer Mutlu, Canadian techno-rockers Chromeo, MySpace pop-rock phenom Eric Hutchinson, Cash Money rocker Kevin Rudolf, Wind-up Records’ Chicago rockers Company of Thieves, Bay Area singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson, Charlottesville, VA’s rising Parachute, Chicago rock band Plain White T’s and highly touted tunesmith Diane Birch. (from Live From Daryl’s House website)
Some of the artists with whom Louie Shelton has worked.
When Louie was 13 years old he met an up and coming Elvis Presley. Elvis was playing at Louie’s junior high school in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Years later in Los Angeles as a session guitarist he was in the studio with Elvis. Louie was one of two people in the studio when young Michael Jackson sang “I Want You Back.” He was in the studio with John Lennon and Phil Spector. T-Bone Walker, James Brown, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder are also among his credits. He also produced Seals & Crofts and played lead guitar on their most memorable hits.
His 2009 induction into the Musicians Hall of Fame provided the perfect backdrop for this conversation with All About Jazz about his remarkable musical career.
After more than forty years I hated the idea of re-buying a Beatles recording. Despite all the hype, how much could they really improve 4-track analogue recordings made in the 60′s? I had read a couple of blog posts which mocked the idea and called the CDs a waste of money.
But after hearing what George Martin’s son had done with his re-mix for the Beatles’ “Love” CD, I thought I would order a couple of my favorite recordings to hear for myself. Continue reading
I asked this question to Derek Trucks, Rhoda Scott & Randall Bramblett, you can read their responses in my new All About Jazz article: A Question of Time
This may have been the most impressive group to ever assemble in a recording studio. It happened in January 1985. After the American Music Awards a group of musicians gathered at the A&M Studios in Hollywood, California to record a song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie, “We Are the World.” The single was a worldwide success that raised over $63 million for famine relief in Africa (wikipedia.) The nature of the cause, Michael Jackson’s enormous 80′s star power, and Quincy Jones’ power of persuasion, were no doubt the reasons that so many musicians took part. It was amazing to watch the interaction of people like Diana Ross and Bob Dylan, or Stevie Wonder helping Bob Dylan work out his solo, so seeing Ray Charles improvising on the theme during a break. In the 80′s it was easy to like Michael Jackson, he was on top of the world, and regardless of what happened later, his charity saved coutless lives, his dancing set a new standard, and along with Quincy Jones he created some very memorable music. So for a few minutes, forget Neverland, Thriller and Bad and enjoy this special event. Continue reading
A lot of people still seem to be interested in this subject, so I’m leaving this post up. It was originally a daily review of each Beacon show, primarily using photos and set lists. Thus it is in reverse order, last show first.
After watching it all and reflecting on the Allman Brothers 40th, I wrote an article that was published on All About Jazz. You can read it here.
Well, my guess about Phil Lesh was correct and I’m so happy that Chuck Leavell did indeed make it back from the timber conference in Idaho to close out the Beacon run – what a terrific surprise! Chuck totally smoked the place, he was awesome.
On the final night the Moogis folks took us backstage for a tour.
Chuck Leavell is one of the world’s premier blues rock pianists–a veteran musician who has recorded and toured with many of the best-known names in the business. He is perhaps best known for his work with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, The Black Crowes, and most of all, his legendary years with the Allman Brothers Band in the ’70s.
My extensive and wide-ranging interview with Chuck has just been published in All About Jazz.
You can read it
THE YEAR OF THE BEATLES
This was the absolute year of the Beatles in the USA. I don’t think anyone who experienced that year as a teenager will ever forget the unique magic of the Beatles conquering America. Imagine, for 3 months they held the 1 & 2 spot in the singles charts:
From February 22, 1964 until April 25, 1964 the Beatles held the top two positions, with various singles. On some weeks their domination extended past the top two. On April 4, 1964, the Beatles occupied the entire top five.
1.”Can’t Buy Me Love”
2. “Twist and Shout”
3. “She Loves You”
4. “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
5. “Please Please Me” Continue reading
TOP SINGLE in 1969
Get Back, The Beatles
“Get Back” is a song primarly written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon/McCartney. The song was originally released as a single on 11 April 1969 and credited to “The Beatles with Billy Preston.” It would later become the closing track of The Beatles’ last album to be released before they split, Let It Be (1970). However, it was not placed there in retrospect; Let It Be was recorded before Abbey Road, “Get Back” therefore being recorded in the Let It Be sessions. The single reached number one in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, France, West Germany, and Mexico, and was The Beatles’ only single that credited another artist (Preston), although Tony Sheridan had shared a billing credit with The Beatles on his own single “My Bonnie” when issued in the UK in 1962 (and again in 1964).
“Get Back” was The Beatles’ first single release in true stereo in the U.S. — in the UK they remained monaural records until the following single release — “The Ballad of John and Yoko.” Wikipedia
The Beatles also released Abbey Road in 1969: Abbey Road became one of the most successful Beatles albums ever. In the UK the album debuted straight at #1. Abbey Road spent its first 11 weeks in the UK charts at #1, and then was knocked off just for 1 week to #2 by the Rolling Stones debuting at the top with Let It Bleed. However, the following week – which was the Christmas week – Abbey Road returned to the top for another 6 weeks, completing 17 weeks at the top. In all it spent 92 weeks inside the UK Top 75, making a big re-entry after over 16 years in October 31, 1987, when it was released for the first time on CD and reached #30. In the UK Abbey Road was the best-selling album of 1969 and the fourth best-selling of the entire 1960s, and the eighth best-selling album of 1970.
Reaction in the U.S. was similar. The album debuted at #178, then moved to #4 and in its third week to #1, spending 11 non-consecutive weeks at the top, but was not the best-selling album during the Christmas week. Abbey Road spent a total of 129 weeks in the Billboard 200, re-entering the charts at #69 on November 14, 1987 when it was released for the first time on CD. It was the 4th best-selling album of 1970 in the US and is now certified 12x platinum by the RIAA. Wikipedia
2nd TOP SINGLE Rolling Stones – Honky Tonk Woman (Live in Hyde Park 1969 with white shoes:-)
Recorded in London in early February 1969 without Brian Jones, the band initially recorded a track called “Country Honk”. Prior to the arrival of new band member Mick Taylor, the song Continue reading
One of the best LP covers of 1968
Jimi Hendrix – All along the watchtower
The Jimi Hendrix Experience began to record their cover version of Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” on January 21, 1968, at Olympic Studios in London.  According to engineer Andy Johns, Jimi Hendrix had been given a tape of Dylan’s recording by publicist Michael Goldstein, who worked for Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman. “(Hendrix) came in with these Dylan tapes and we all heard them for the first time in the studio,” recalled Johns. According to Hendrix’s regular engineer Eddie Kramer, the guitarist cut a large number of takes on the first day, Continue reading
The year 1966 was a big one for the Beatles, the Stones, the Sinatra family, the Beach Boy, the Supremes, Lovin’ Spoonful, and Donovan
Frank Sinatra, Strangers in the Night (no 1966 clip was available, this was about 15 years later.) The star of the 40′s had the year’s biggest hit, and hit gold again with “That’s Life.” His daughter Nancy had the 2nd biggest hit with “These Boots are Made for Walkin’”
Beach Boys, Good Vibrations was in 4th place after the Beatles “Yellow Submarine.”
The Beatles, Paperback Writer was 5th for the year.
Sound Of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel
“The Sounds of Silence is the song that propelled the 1960s folk music duo Simon and Garfunkel to popularity. It was written on February 19, 1964 by Paul Simon in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Simon conceived of the song as a way of capturing the emotional trauma felt by many Americans. Continue reading
The sixties were a magical time for music, so with the advent of YouTube, I thought, why not put something together to make it easier to remember 1965. Motown in Detroit and Stax in Memphis were hotbeds of soul and R&B, think of the Supremes, Wilson Pickett, Martha and the Vandellas, the Four Tops, Little Anthony, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and James Brown. The British invasion was still in full force – creativity where ever you looked, the Beatles, Stones, Yardbirds, Kinks, Animals, Moody Blues, and Donovan. The Beach Boys and the 4 Seasons had survived the invasion and new American groups were emerging: The Byrds, The Righteous Brothers, Sir Douglas Quintet, Beau Brummels, and the Mama & Papas. Finally, Bob Dylan went electric with the monster LP Highway 61 Revisited.
Beatles, You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away. Interestingly, just as Dylan went electric, perhaps inspired by the Beatles, John Lennon wrote this song inspired by Dylan and done with acoustic guitars. Continue reading