Sunday, April 11, 2010


I listened to Bill Frisell's Good Dog Happy Man tonight as I built a setlist for a dinner party, and listening to the man's style (never mind thank you for the Hammond B3 all through it) I'm taken by Bills precision of attack and decay (he uses plenty of effects too). Let's put him at the left of the continuum.

At the right let's put Jerry Garcia. I'm listening to Stella Blue as I write this. With Jerry it's not at all about the relentless precision that Bill delivers, it's all heart. Not that Bill's playing doesn't have heart, it does.

Somewhere in the middle are great players like Henry Kaiser, who is also about a kind of precision that can almost hurt you as you listen to it, but who also has heart. David Lindley is another one in there with a huge heart and a huge technique. Richard Thompson, Fred Frith, strong unique players too.

The guitar is arguably the most differently played instrument ever. We'll leave the oud out of the discussion for now.

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