Plectrum Podcasts

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Sixteenth Plectrum Podcast - Erik Wollo

Erik Wøllo is a Norwegian guitarist. He might not be known as much as his Anglo-Saxon counterparts such as Tommy Emmanuel or Earl Klugh but his music is still very interesting. In his official website it is stated that his music covers a wide range including Jazz and Rock but I would say that his music is mostly meditative or atmospheric. If you want something to help you meditate or relax you can certainly find many of his tracks that will suit this purpose. Some critics also categorise his music as World Music or even New Age. Nevertheless he composes for Films, Ballets and the theatre and has even played in the USA and Canada.

Podcast description:

TRACK 1: Blue Mountain - From Guitar Nova. This track borders on the classic. It is not one of his most orignal compositions but it is a really good piece. The style also reminds me much or Acoustic Alchemy.

TRACK 2: Hjallepallo - From Guitar Nova. I hope trying to read the track name didn't make your tongue go into a knot! ... and don't ask me what it means neither. Its in a very different style from the previous track, this time bordering on the jazzy style though not quite jazzy.

TRACK 3: Sedona - From Blue Sky Red Guitars. This is a very quiet and meditative track and it sounds quite celtic to me though it has some elements of Carlos Vamos as well. Strange combination.

Enjoy the music.

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Fifteenth Plectrum Podcast - Fusion by Larry Carlton

Larry Carlton is a jazz guitarist dividing his recording time between solo recordings and session appearances with more popular bands. Over his career Carlton has won three Grammys for his performances and compositions. His influences are the likes of Barney Kessel and BB.King (that's a pure jazz guitarist and a pure Blues guitarist) - which explains his versatility. He also replaced Lee Ritenour when he left the band Fourplay. For me Carlton is in the same league as Larry Coryell and Lee Ritenour though maybe a little less known than the former. Nonetheless he is a really good guitarist as you will see from this podcast.

Podcast description:

TRACK 1: Remembering J.P. - From Larry and Lee (1995). This is a collaboration album, already mentioned in a previous podcast dedicated to Lee Ritenour. One can hardly tell who is playing when on this typically fusion piece, as both Larry and Lee adopt such a very similar style here.

TRACK 2: Last Night. - From Last Night (Live 1986). A winning combination - Larry Carlton with the Yellojackets! I was lucky to see the Yellowjackets (minus Larry Carlton) play in Malta at the Malta Jazz Festival and was really impressed. This is a really nice track - smooth easy-listening fusion at its best. Enjoy.

TRACK 3: Layla. - From On Solid Ground (1989). Just to demonstrate Larry's versatility and influences I opted to include this track - Layla, orginally a Derek and the Dominoes song with Eric Clapton on lead guitar! As you might imagine it is a rock song and it is intended to have vocals but Larry Carlton manages to play it so well and without any vocals - a really great rendition.


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Check out Larry Carlton with Lee Ritenour in action:


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Fourteenth Plectrum Podcast - Pat Metheny

Do you remember the film The Falcon and The Snowman? There was a song from its soundtrack - This is not America - sung by David Bowie accompanied by none other than this jazz guitarist - and he even co-composed the song [actually he composed the rest of the soundtrack all on his own].
Sometimes you won't even know that its a guitar you are listening to when he plays. In fact Metheny is fond of using what's known as a guitar synthesiser with his guitar. It's a gadget that makes the guitar sound more like a synth than an actual guitar! So you might be listening to the sound of a trumpet for instance - but it would be a guitar playing! Therefore be warned...any trumpet sounds in the tracks I have chosen for you [from the 13 or so CD's I have of this guitarist] are actually created by a guitar connected to this synth gadget. Metheny also plays special guitars like the electric Sitar - which really sounds like an Indian Sitar and even a strange guitar with 3 necks called the Pikasso guitar.

Podcast description:

TRACK 1: Are you going with me - From Travels. This is probably the first Metheny track I have ever listened to because Travels is the first Pat Metheny album I have ever bought way back in the early 80's. Obviously it was on vinyl but now I have it on CD too. This is a great track from a great album. Note the unusual sound his guitar makes.

TRACK 2: Here to Stay - From We Live Here. Compared to the previous track this is a very "normal" piece of music by Metheny's standards. The tempo is quite upbeat and rather commercial and the guitar actually sounds like a guitar. This does not diminish at all Metheny's greatness in no way mind you - I just wanted to include this one for those of you with more conservative tastes.

TRACK 3: Red Sky - From We Live Here. The tempo on this one is rather latin though still jazzy, and one can appreciate the nice sound of the elctric sitar Metheny likes to use so often...and later on the trumpet sound so charateristic.

TRACK 4: Last Train Home - From Still Life (Talking). A really cool and relaxing piece. My favourite from this selection. On this track Metheny uses again both the electric sitar and the synth effect that makes the guitar sound like a very high pitched trumpet (you would need to have compressors for lungs in order to play a real trumpet like that!)

BONUS: Interview with the Toronto luthier who created Pat Metheny's Pikasso guitar.

(Once again excuse the quality of the sound which is far from being pristine but I had to compress this podcast quite a lot in order to make it of an acceptable size for download - and its still 22mb!)

Enjoy the music.

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Thirteenth Plectrum Podcast - Passion Grace and Fire

Paco de Lucia is that great musician/composer from Spain who pioneered the New Flamenco style. He is featured in one of my first podcasts. Add to him Al Di Meola, the American of Italian descent, who plays the guitar so masterly, and to these two add again the great John McLaughlin, for whom I shall dedicate a podcast soon....and what have you got?...A super guitar trio who can produce music that's out of this world! My best guitar heroes all playing together - what can one want more! This is what I am bringing to you in today's podcast. Greatness x3! And you can judge by yourselves from these tracks I am offering you from three separate albums. It was actually so difficult to choose which to include because all are of the same quality and beauty.
Most of the tracks are rather long, some even as long as 8 minutes, so this time round unfortunately I had to augment the MP3 compression. Consequently I offer my apologies for an inferior sound quality in this podcast. I cannot make you download a file of more than 20mb can I? This said, the sound is not that bad and one can still appreciate the great music as it is.

Podcast description:

TRACK ONE: Le Monastere dans le Montagne - From Guitar Trio. This is a John McLaughlin composition and one mainly hears him and Al Di Meola as protagonists on this track (Paco is somewhere in the background). It is a soft piece compared to the fiery ones that follow.

TRACK TWO: Fantasia Suite - From Friday Night in San Francisco live - 1981. This is a typical Al Di Meola composition on which all three collaborate in this interpretation. They take turns to show off their virtuosity actually and you can note the different styles in fact while they are blasting away at breathtaking speeds on their guitars! Its like a guitar duel between titans. When I finish listening to it I always end up saying "WOW"! Well, by now you should have got the message that I like this one....or not?

TRACK THREE: Passion, Grace and Fire - From Passion Grace and Fire. This is another show of brilliance, though taken from a studio album. Notice how the three blend together like its just one guitar playing! And then, for a touch of humour, they change the tempo to reggae! You have to be great to be able to do that.

TRACK FOUR: Short Tales from the Black Forest - From Friday Night in San Francisco live - 1981. How I wish I could see them play this one. I would be happy even to see them play it on video or CD! Note how they play in unison near the beginning. Note also how they start conversing with each other as if in a dialogue! Note also how they start improvising near the middle of the track and end up making funny noises and even change to the Pink Panter theme and so on. The crowd goes wild. I go wild too!

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Check out this video of these three great guitarist:


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Monday, May 01, 2006

Check this out IV - Create an ad for this blog on your website/blog

NEWSThat's it. You can now embed an ad for this blog - with scrolling text in your own website or blog so that visitors to your site can also visit mine. Cool isn't it? Its really easy.

For a horizontal scrolling ad just download the code and then paste it into the HTML of your site.

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For a vertical scrolling ad just download the code and then paste it into the HTML of your site.

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Twelfth Plectrum Podcast - The smooth guitar of Lee Ritenour

Check out the new Lee Ritenour CD, Smoke 'n' Mirrors.
Born in the USA (born January 11,1952) as Lee Mack Ritenour. He is also affectionately called "Captain Fingers" due to his mastery of the guitar he plays. For me this guitarist is a genius that sometimes does really silly career moves! I mean with his talent why delve into pop or electronic music?!! In fact Lee has frequently been criticised by his fans for these moves he sometimes makes. I don't believe it is because in pop one makes more money because if I had to ask any pop fan who Lee Ritenour is I believe nobody would know! But any jazz enthusiast knows who Lee Ritenour is. Anyway in my podcasts I selected some really good tracks for you and did not even dare include any that sounded a bit pop.

Podcast description

TRACK 1. Tush - From the album On the Line. This is a typical smooth Lee Ritenour tune taken from the very first Ritenour album (CD) I ever had. Lee has some very good musicians helping him too such as Dave Grusin on keyboards and Anthony Jackson on bass among others.

TRACK 2. Sun Song - From the album Captain Fingers. This is a ballad like soft tune in which Lee Ritenour plays acoustic guitar.

TRACK 3. Silent Message - From the album Harlequin. This album consists of a number of Brazil inspired songs and on some of them in fact one can even hear the Brazilian singer Ivan Lins . I chose this one because it is one of the instrumental tracks (no singing) and because it is the best track on the CD (in my opinion anyway).

TRACK 4. L.A. Underground - From the album Larry and Lee. This is a collaboration with the famous Larry Carlton, and one that really succeded as this album is considered one of Lee's best ever. Lee's guitar sound on this track reminds me of the typical sound of George Benson. It's a very good upbeat tune - easy to listen to as with all the other tracks.

Happy listening.

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Check out this video of Lee Ritenour in action:


NEWSThe new Lee Ritenour CD - Smoke 'n' Mirrors.True to its intriguing and provocative title, Lee Ritenour's latest CD Smoke N' Mirrors takes listeners on a magical, multi-faceted global journey unlike any other in the legendary guitarist's three decade, nearly 40 album career. Inspired by his very first trip to South Africa in 2005, where he performed five hugely successful concerts at festivals in Johannesburg and Capetown, with Smoke N' Mirrors, Ritenour takes an expansive, polyrhythmic approach, working with musicians from South Africa, Cameroon-West Africa, Brazil, Columbia, Peru and India.

Also joining him on this recording is an exciting mix of old friends who happen to be some of America's top jazz performers. Among those featured are pianists Dave Grusin and Patrice Rushen; drummer Vinnie Colaiuta; along with bassists John Patitucci, Brian Bromberg, Abraham Laboriel and Richard Bona. There are eight percussionists on the record including Sheila E, Alex Acuna and Paulinho Da Costa and on tablas is Satnam Ramgotra from India. Ever the innovator, Ritenour employs a total of 12 guitars, his most ever, to achieve what can only be described as sonic perfection. These include the Gibson Lee Ritenour Model and a wide variety of baritone, steel and high string guitars.

Smoke N' Mirrors also marks the American recording debut of South African singing sensation Zamajobe on three songs as well as the composing and recording debut of Ritenour's thirteen- year-old son Wesley, a highly talented drummer. Wes adds brushes to Zamajobe's original song, the exotic call and response anthem "Memeza," and also composed the graceful melody of the soulful and atmospheric "Stone Cool."

Track listing:

Smoke ‘n Mirrors: Upbeat and percussive, but how could it not be with the following rhythm section: Rit – guitar, Melvin Davis - six string electric bass, Richard Bona – bass fills, Vinnie Colaiuta – drums, Alex Acuna – percussion, Shelia E - percussion.

Capetown: Rit – Guitar, Richard bona – Electric Bass, Vinnie Colaiuta – drums, Alex Acuna – percussion.

Southwest Passage: This is a Dave Grusin composition. It features Rit on guitar, Dave on piano, John Patitucci on acoustic bass, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Alex Acuna and Paulinho DaCosta on percussion. Beautiful composition!

Waters Edge: This one has an African folk tinge to it. Based on a seemingly simple melody, it’s catchy and makes you want to break out into a dance: Rit – guitar, Richard Bona – electric bass, Vinnie Colaiuta – drums, Alex Acuna – percussion.

Blue Days: Switching continents and countries we are literally guided across the equator into this Brazilian tune, written and arranged by Daniel Jobim, grandson of Antonio Carlos. A very romantic duet sung in Portuguese by Daniel and Joyce. This is my favourite track maybe because I am such a big fan of Antonio Carlos Jobim: Daniel Jobim – vocals and keyboards, Joyce – vocals, Rit – guitar, Dave Grusin – acoustic piano, John Patitucci - acoustic bass, Danilo Caymmi – flutes, Paulinho Da Costa – percussion, Alex Acuna – Drums.

Spellbinder: This is a Gabor Szabo composition, Arranged by Lee, it features Lee on guitar, Brian Bromberg on acoustic bass, Vinnie Colaiuta – drums, Alex Acuna – percussion, Satnam Ramgotra – tablas. Fans of percussion may want to stand in the sweet spot between your speakers, turn the volume way up and feel this one! Lee spends some time weaving in and out of this groove, then steps back for a while to savor it himself.

Memeza: A short interlude by Zamajobe and Kanesha Kamwendo. Rit – guitars, Zamajobe – vocals, Erik Pilani Paliani – acoustic and electric guitars, Wesley Ritenour (yes, the little kid last seen on the cover of Lee’s “This Is Love”) – drums, Tiale Makhene – percussion, Alberto Lopez – wood percussion.

Povo: Lee brings us back to the U.S. momentarily with his bluesy arrangement of this Freddie Hubbard composition. Featured here are beautiful solos by Patrice Rushen on the Fender Rhodes piano, and Sheila E on percussion, Melvin Davis – electric bass, Oscar Seaton – drums.

Lovely Day: Next up is a fresh and contemporary take on this popular Bill Withers song. Most of you will find it familiar, if I am not mistaken it was also recorded by Simply Red. Zamajobe - vocals, Lee – guitar, Dave Grusin – acoustic piano, Vinnie Colaiuta – drums, Melvin Davis – six string bass, Erik Pilani Paliani – rhythm guitar. Zamajobe’s beautiful voice, the use of chants and percussion provide a lush, almost spiritual African flavor to this classic.

Township: Written and arranged by Lee. Rit – guitar, Richard Bona – electric bass, Steve Tavaglione – soprano sax and alto flute. Vinnie Colaiuta – drums, Alex Acuna – percussion, Satnam Ramgotra – tables. It’s very nice hearing Steve on another Rit project!

Forget Me Nots: Arranged by Lee and Patrice Rushen, this is a Patrice classic. Lee – guitars, Zamajobe – vocals, Patrice Rushen – Fender Rhodes, organ solo, Erik Pilani Paliani – rhythm guitar, Melvin Davis – electric bass, Oscar Seaton – drums, Shelia E – percussion. What a great vocalist this Zamajobe is! Excellent arrangement too!

Stone Cool: Written and arranged by Lee and Wesley Ritenour. Lee – acoustic guitar, Patrice Rushen – Fender Rhodes, Alex Acuna – drums, Abraham Laboriel – electric bass, Mea Noite – percussion.

Motherland: The deep groove of this track is about as relentless as you’ll find. While you have vintage Lee on guitar, he shows he has a little Ry Cooder in him: Rit – baritone acoustic and electric guitar, Melvin Davis - electric bass, Oscar Seaton – drums, Shelia E – percussion.

4½ Storm: Lest you try to take a break following Motherland, Lee closes up with the fusiony 4 ½ Storm. Written and arranged by Lee. Lee - acoustic and electric guitars, Richard Bona – electric bass, Vinnie Colaiuta – drums, Alex Acuna – congas, Shelia E – Korg wave drum and sound effects. The song fades out with Alex Acuna on congas.

Lee Ritenour plays these guitars on this album:
*1949 Gibson LS
*1960 Gibson 335
*Gibson Lee Ritenour Model
*Yamaha Silent Guitar
*Yamaha 1974 Classic Custom Guitar
*Yamaha Custom Baritone Guitar
*Yamaha Acoustic Steel String Guitar
*Baby Taylor High String Guitar
*Brian Moore Electric/Synthesizer Guitar
*Roger Sadowsky Acoustic Electric Guitar
*Richard Glick Baritone Acoustic #B-252 Model

Click HERE for the guitar score of the title track Smoke 'n' Mirrors

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Eleventh Plectrum Podcast - The unique style of Larry Coryell

Larry Coryell official websiteI was introduced to the music of Larry Coryell accidentally many years ago (when CD's were not even heard of yet) while I was rummaging through vinyl disks at a music shop. I had this habit of looking for unusual, unknown or rather old music because I was, and still am, very curious. I wanted to know what is being done by non commercial musicians and what had been done in the past. That's how I came to know of Larry Coryell. I found this album, heard a track or two as samples and bought it. To enjoy his music you need what's called "an acquired taste" and probably this podcast will not please many. I did try to choose some of his mellowest pieces but I reserved the last track as a sample of the artist's more jazzy facet.

Podcast description:

TRACK 1: Rhapsody in Blue - From Larry Coryell at Kimball's East Emerville, LA, Live. A beautiful interpretation of George Gershwin's famous composition, Rhapsody in Blue. It is amazing how Coryell manages to transpose what's supposed to be played by a full orchestra to just one solo guitar!

TRACK 2: Improvisation on Villa-Lobos (Prelude No.4 in E Minor)- From Larry Coryell and the 11th House (Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival).This is actually a classical piece by the famous Brazilian composer Heitor (or Hector) Villa-Lobos. Larry Coryell, apart from interpreting the piece, improvises on it. That means that he knows this piece so well that he feels confident enough to change it at will. That's the result of really hard work.

TRACK 3: Tamari - From Larry Coryell and the 11th House (Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival). This is how I know Coryell most - playing his electric guitar and doing true Jazz. I left it for the last on purpose. If you hate jazz then skip this one. But I must say it is a really good example of Larry Coryell's mastery and unique style.

Enjoy the music.

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Check out this video of Larry Coryell in action: