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9/23/12 2:07 AM
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Ali
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jman asked me to post some Stern that I liked on the Al DiMeola & Steve Vai thread... which I did, in a hurry. Some different sorts of things he's done. So go check that out.
But I wish I just started a new thread. So here's one thing...

I was looking for an improv tune he does as an intro (Stern often does this, after the intermission, to start the second set, and often it's a high point). But there's one on a DVD where he uses all these volume swells to make the attack disappear, and improvises this stunning melody, and it's semi-Friselly but more chops-forward, and leads into a tune. Don't remember which one. I didn't FIND it on youtube.

But here's one, where it's much more bop (with maybe some Ford-esque blues licks tossed in), starting solo... then he does a tiny bit of that volume-knob ethereality at about 3:47. (And so a tiny bit breathtaking).
After the solo intro, the band comes in, and it's this lovely, lovely ballad. I don't know how you'll feel about the vocalizing Richard Bona does of the melody (I have learned to like it, but I could see where you wouldn't, possibly, too). But I love the melody. And then once the tune is established, Stern takes another solo (with Bona's comping being super impressive, too, in my opinion).

The slow burn in the main solo, leading to this dreamy climax at 9:27ish... I dunno. Hope you like it. I think it's stunning.
And I think it's better if you watched the other videos on the DiMeola/Vai thread first. And it pisses me off that the video is just cut off well before he's done... but I have to live by what youtube gives me sometimes.
9/23/12 2:07 AM
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Ali
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Me, being a critic. Like I know someting about music. Meh. I'll shut up. Check this chit out:

9/23/12 2:37 AM
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jman
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That was incredible, I actually enjoyed the vocal stuff, added a nice texture to an instrumental jam.

Mike Stern makes it looks so damn easy. I'm really becoming a big fan. He does so many things in his playing, but it all flows and sounds so natural, just mindblowing to have that kind of ability.

I hear so many people (both in Paris and Los Angeles) talking about Kurt Rosenwinkel. I saw him with my friend in Paris play a show. I was underwhelmed. The jazz violinist that took me loved it. There was another "rock" guitar player there with us, and he felt the same way as me. I was wanted to get something out of his playing (and he's an incredible guitar player, not knocking him at all) but there was just something missing for me.

With Mike Stern it seems to all be there for me, not a need or want, he just delivers effortlessly and it flows so well.

Thanks!
9/23/12 3:21 AM
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hugomma
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Okay, I found the thread. 

Wow.  That was beautiful.  And I enjoyed the vocals.  Very subtle, & I thought it added to the tune as well.

Ali, I have 'access' to some Stern stuff, if you know what I mean.  What's your thoughts on these?

- All Over the Place
- Big Neighborhood
- Jaco & Stern live 1984 at the 55 Bar
- Jaco & Stern live 1983 in Stria, Austria

Thanks,

Hugo
 
9/23/12 3:33 AM
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hugomma
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Speaking of Stern & Jaco...check out Mike at 5:42, wearing a shirt Freddy Krueger would be proud of, shakin' dat ass, LOL.  But besides, that, check out what he starts about around 7:20...
9/23/12 4:50 AM
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Ali
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hugomma - Okay, I found the thread. 



Wow.  That was beautiful.  And I enjoyed the vocals.  Very subtle, & I thought it added to the tune as well.



Ali, I have 'access' to some Stern stuff, if you know what I mean.  What's your thoughts on these?



- All Over the Place

- Big Neighborhood

- Jaco & Stern live 1984 at the 55 Bar

- Jaco & Stern live 1983 in Stria, Austria



Thanks,



Hugo

 

FRAT WARNING. But I summarize later, if you want to skip ahead. Here goes:
Strangely... I don't really know those records except for Big Neighborhood. Which I recommend. That's the record with the Vai duet (which I love -- and yes, I love Vai on it, too; outside of "Zombie Woof" with Dweezil and a handful of other things, some of the best Vai I've heard). (And if you ever find the Ed Palermo Big Band record, where he covers Zappa tunes... Stern is a guest on a couple of tunes. And I'll tell you the story of Keneally showing up, and what he had to say about Stern, too, some time. Up your alley, I promise).

Here's the thing. Stern sometimes gets into these "ruts" (it's all relative). I mean, where he does a couple/few records in a row that are too samey. And maybe I'd like the later ones if I hadn't heard the earlier ones first. So that makes me not really able to give an opinion, to somebody with fresh ears, about a record like "All Over the Place". The rap on it was... it's just too close to Big Neighborhood. And in fact, THAT one was, in some ways, too close to Who Let The Cats Out?

I think one thing that set Big Neighborhood apart was the tune with Vai. So it's a bit of a push. Maybe Cats is better. But it doesn't have that opening track with Vai. Hmmm. And then he did "the same record" again... supposedly.... but then, like I said, I'm not really familiar with All Over.... so you should check it out!

"Neesh" is just freaking weird. First record, though it wasn't officially released first (or not on a major label). That happened later. And I dunno. It sounds halfway into Wayne Krantz territory, but less certain.Or more uncertain. Take your pick.

The first record under his own name that people knew about... "Upside Downside." It's LP-length, so short for a CD. I love that one. It's the most "fusion" of what I'll recommend. The next two or three records were all very, very good, and similar. Things changed on "Standards" (which you know about already). I think that is freaking amazing, though it IS Standards, so he's staking a claim to jazz legitimacy, as if he had to, with all that implies. Still, holychit that record. And now that I think about it, its predecessor, Odds or Evens, is just non-stop great. Great. And in some ways closer to another (later) record than the those that surround it. I'll get to that.

Then there's Give and Take. That, to me, was another step forward in terms of his "flow" between rock/jazz/fusion.... that Jimmy was talking about so eloquently. This is the one that I think is kind of like "Odds or Evens". Maybe better developed. I don't if more ballsy or not. Good records, those, all.

And I'm nuts, like over the moon, for "Play". But that has duets with Scofield and Frisell. And taught me something about guys egos getting out of the way and creativity sparking each other. It might be a bit more "jazz"/jazz than anything other than Standards. So I don't know how you like that balance in Stern's playing. It's not as "show-offy" as Give and Take or Odds or Evens or Upside Downside.

"Voices" is the first with Bona doing a lot of that sweet, sweet vocalizing. And it's sweet. Did I say sweet? Too damn sweet for me, often. And sometimes gives me a toothache. He gets dangerously close to Cafe Latte land. But it's "another thing" Stern did supremely well. I actually love it, sometimes, but... it's too soft-centered.

Then "These Times". Which is a repetition of the same thing as Voices. Is it better? Worse? I dunno. I heard Voices first, and it took me a while to warm to it, and then I didn't really get absorbed into its successor. I was disappointed that it was "samey". But maybe it'd be better (or not) if I gave it a more fair shake. Or if I had heard it first.

"Four Generations of Miles" is not a Stern record. But it is, like it says, a group of guys who played with Miles at different points in Miles' career. Freaking great record. Miles tunes. And Stern is... holychit.

Then we get back to where I started. I think Who Let The Cats Out and Big Neighborhood are both a little lean toward crossover, but maybe less so than Voices and These Times. They both have a round-robin of musicians for the bands on different tunes, so a bit more "product"-like than what came before. But I like them both a whole lot, it turns out, for about 2/3 of them. Uneven, but when they're good, they're great.

I haven't heard the stuff with Jaco -- those are all unofficial, I think.

By the way, Richard Bona, as a bassist, is like some reincarnation of Jaco. TOTALLY. Insane. But his own records... are sort of crossover-pop-jazz, sickly sweet. Like you can tell from his vocalizing with Stern. It's great when it's great, but it gets old if you want some fire. Left on his own, he NEVER brings the noize. I've heard Bona with Stern and with Kazumi Watanabe. WHOA. And then his records.. well, he's a gift to music. And he gives me a toothache.

One of Miles' least interesting records is "The Man With The Horn". Much of it is lame. It has the tune "Fat Time", however, where Stern is like... who the FUCK was that guy???? (And the answer is... he was some dude who got a gig with Blood Sweat and Tears. And then Miles).

Starting all over again:
"Upside Downside" for the start of something big.
"Odds or Evens", and
"Give and Take" for a more fully developed identity, crazy flow. Great records. (In between was a disappointing "Between the Lines" -- too much uninteresting horn stuff on that one, to me. But I haven't listened to it in a long time).
"Standards" is... an anomaly, and necessary/amazing.
"Play". Get "Play". Live "Play".
And "Four Generations of Miles", too, though that's not really all about Stern.

Too much! And not what you easily have access to! So... of what you asked...
Get "All Over the Place" and tell me. Hopefully I pre-judged it and it's great.
Definitely get "Big Neighborhood". Uneven, but when it's good it's so damn good.

And on principle, always get Jaco stuff. And figure out if it's good. He did a lot of lame chit. And he did a lot of... Freaking Jaco. Stern on that stuff? How bad could it be??? Check it out. Teach me.
9/23/12 5:17 AM
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Ali
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BTW, Hugo... you found some great stuff on that other thread. Straight No Chaser? Hell yeah. And what you pointed out, that chord/pedal point thing at 2:18... signature Stern. Signature freaking Stern. That's "his". You'll see it done on other clips. You're right about it being similar to the version on Standards but...for the second half or so, it's SO ROCK, but it remains Monk's "Straight No Chaser". How the hell.... ??????

When Stern played with Miles, he just kept pinching himself. How did he get THAT gig? He says. And he was really interested in blowing over chord changes, playing bebop, he kept trying to do a clean-toned Jim Hall meets Charlie Parker thing. And Miles kept coming over and turning up his amp. And saying things like "Knock that shit off! Play like Hendrix!" So "Fat Time" happened.

Stern to this day studies all the time with a Boston legend, guy named Charlie Banacos. Twice a week lessons in composing and improvising, if I remember correctly. Banacos is not a guitarist. But he's the Boston version of Dennis Sandole.

Another aside... sickest-chops-since-Shawn-Lane-with-synthetic-scale-obsession-and-often-gratiing-tone-guy, Scott McGill, was also a Sandole student. And a Jersey guy. (Random Trivial Pursuit stuff).

Did you catch the tune I couldn't embed on the other thread? Embedding disabled. If you did, cool. If you didn't, now's your chance. Paste this in. I think it's breathtaking, and am always nervous about saying such a thing to a musician as far ahead of me as Jimmy. But he gave it a seal of approval, so I feel validated. So again, this is breathtaking:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOijJFgBAH4&feature=related
9/23/12 6:06 AM
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Ali
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Right. "Slow Change".
(shakes head...) Mike MF'in Stern. Gnome sane?

9/23/12 6:21 AM
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Ali
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OOOH, I found it. Here. "After You" is the tune he's leading into. And I apologize for Bob Berg's boy-band-dad meets Flock of Seagulls look. (R.I.P Bob Berg though).
What I'm most interested in sharing is the improv intro by Stern. Some of this is clearly "how I learned something from my friend Bill Frisell. And made it mine".

I think so, anyway. And that's meant as a crazy compliment. Turn this up. I really don't get all the way through the long guitar intro without tears. I'm a wuss. Sue me.

9/23/12 9:48 AM
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jman
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Ali Did you catch the tune I couldn't embed on the other thread? Embedding disabled. If you did, cool. If you didn't, now's your chance. Paste this in. I think it's breathtaking, and am always nervous about saying such a thing to a musician as far ahead of me as Jimmy. But he gave it a seal of approval, so I feel validated. So again, this is breathtaking:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOijJFgBAH4&feature=related

It is just incredible, you nailed it, unreal. I love the Miles Davis reference about "Jimi Hendrix" lol.

Also thanks for the compliment, but we're all here to learn and share music, and I've learned a lot and been exposed to a lot of cool new things from the people on this forum.
9/23/12 11:22 AM
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Ali
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Oh yeah, I caught you saw it (title is "Ha Ha Hotel" -- I edited back in). I meant Hugo, just because he was responding to other videos and I didn't see if he commented on that one.

And it's ok with me if I love something you don't Jimmy! I just "like it" when what communicates with me gets across with others. I'm too damn old and stubborn to think I'm wrong. I just have an irrational fear that someone can articulate why something I love sucks and that I can't articulate why they're wrong. Y'know: "It's just a Neapolitan, Neophrygian sixth chord with a Diminuated glance note transition into a Frammis Pin turnaround. That was cool when Barlovsky did it in 1431, but it's exhausting some dude is still at it. Get a clavicin if you want to hear that chit".

Mind you, I KNOW you're not that guy! That guy only exists in my head. There, now you know more about me than you need to ;-) Ultimately I just take great pleasure in "DJ'ing" and people liking some things that have been with me a while. Like a flasher or something ;-)

I was trying to decide whether I oughta comment on Ronsenwinkel, too meantime. I've never seen him live, though. And I like sticking to Stern while it's going so well!

And here's what Miles wouldn't let him do, maybe. From the "Four Generations of Miles" record, super straight ahead... (George Coleman is a criminally overlooked alum, IMO, whose solo is first; Stern's comes in at 2:41. And his comping under Ron Carter's bass solo is pretty sweet, too)

9/23/12 11:53 AM
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Ali
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Theme here is maybe a bit to "contempo-bop" (?) but the solos are all vicious. Looking at Stern's face, I interpret that grin to be him still, even after Miles, just thinking "ohmygod, Micheal freakin' Brecker is playing one of my tunes!"

Stern's solo has that "flow" jazz/rock transition thing. Gets pretty damn rock-ish perfectly. Then Brecker is... well, he's the boss.

9/23/12 12:15 PM
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Ali
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A class. In the "part 2" interview jman posted, Stern talks about implying harmonies by playing "chord tones" without playing the chords -- something he worked on with Bach's violin Sonatas & Partitas, where it's not a chord instrument but the harmonies are outlined or just implied in a variety of ways. Here he gives more a jazz guitar lesson, rather than just mention it. And it's all Autumn Leaves again. One thing I love about this guy... he disappeared from Miles' band and altogether for something like 10 years (and I think it was a bad substance abuse problem). But he came back and was just so happy to work. And he works and works and works. So he gets better.

9/23/12 12:20 PM
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Ali
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Doing Hendrix' Little Wing. I never knew this happened, until this morning. Looks to be at some university jazz band/class type thing.

The original uploader wrote this in the comments:

I really apologize for the very bad quality of this video (my mother is not the best with a digital camera in her hands), but the performance was so wonderful that I decided to share it with you so you can appreciate at least the audio. Sorry for the headache or sickness we might have caused to you, guys ;-) Lalla & mum



9/23/12 12:40 PM
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Ali
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"Tipatina's". On what is nominally an instructional video, but is more a portrait with a couple of minor tips. This is one of those fusion/funk things he does so well. And it's about as well as a guitar can be played.

9/23/12 12:51 PM
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jman
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OMG that Brecked clip was just fucking PERFECT!!! Man never really heard much of him and now I'm like his #1 fan, lol. I remember getting Guitar Player back in 1986 or so with him on the cover and thinking, who is this guy with the bad haircut, everyone says he's good...wow, what the hell was I missing all of these years.

Wow at the Autumn Leaves clinic chord tone stuff. The command and creativity he has on the guitar is something I can't really think of any guitar player that I've seen doing...Django..yeah...nobody else comes to mind though.

As far as Kurt Rosenwinkle I'm more curious to hear about what others see in his playing, and find out what I guess I'm missing. I asked the violinst after the concert, but I really couldn't get a specific answer from him about what he liked about his playing.

Thanks again for the Mike Stern stuff...incredible player. Seriously the best "rock/jazz fusion" player I've ever heard.
9/23/12 1:58 PM
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hugomma
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Ali - BTW, Hugo... you found some great stuff on that other thread. Straight No Chaser? Hell yeah. And what you pointed out, that chord/pedal point thing at 2:18... signature Stern. Signature freaking Stern. That's "his". You'll see it done on other clips. You're right about it being similar to the version on Standards but...for the second half or so, it's SO ROCK, but it remains Monk's "Straight No Chaser". How the hell.... ??????

When Stern played with Miles, he just kept pinching himself. How did he get THAT gig? He says. And he was really interested in blowing over chord changes, playing bebop, he kept trying to do a clean-toned Jim Hall meets Charlie Parker thing. And Miles kept coming over and turning up his amp. And saying things like "Knock that shit off! Play like Hendrix!" So "Fat Time" happened.

Stern to this day studies all the time with a Boston legend, guy named Charlie Banacos. Twice a week lessons in composing and improvising, if I remember correctly. Banacos is not a guitarist. But he's the Boston version of Dennis Sandole.

Another aside... sickest-chops-since-Shawn-Lane-with-synthetic-scale-obsession-and-often-gratiing-tone-guy, Scott McGill, was also a Sandole student. And a Jersey guy. (Random Trivial Pursuit stuff).

Did you catch the tune I couldn't embed on the other thread? Embedding disabled. If you did, cool. If you didn't, now's your chance. Paste this in. I think it's breathtaking, and am always nervous about saying such a thing to a musician as far ahead of me as Jimmy. But he gave it a seal of approval, so I feel validated. So again, this is breathtaking:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOijJFgBAH4&feature=related

Yeah, listened to Stern/Bona "Live New Morning Pairs" last night.  I'm still gluing pieces of my melted face back on from that, but it never hurts to listen to it again.  Jimmy posted that 'Funk guitar instructional vid' link, & in the beginning of "Live New Morning Pairs", Stern shows how far you can take that kind of stuff.  And that fast freak out section that starts at 4:28...

Since we've migrated Mike Stern to this thead, I though it might be a good idea to repost this one.  On top of Stern's signature pedal point chordal improv, check out how he applies the Lynyrd Skynrd cliche bendy-blues/rock bleet n' bleet lick at 4:13, moves it up a 1/2 step at 4:19, & the another 1/2 step at 4:21.  Then he bends the hell outta the strings a 4:22, & uses blues licks as a launching point into more line playing insanity.

The way he blends traditional blues/rock with hard bop/modal lines...no can defend.  I don't think anyone does it better.  There's this level that guys like Stern, Henderson, Doran get to...it's like some kind of musical harmonic enlightenment that people strive for but only a few lucky (non) souls ever attain. 

I gotta go practice, but thanks again Ali for the Stern write up & helping me rediscover him.  I literally haven't listened to Mike Stern in like 15 years.  I kind of freaked out about electric Miles, Zappa, stoner rock, & other stuff.  It's great to go back & listen with fresh ears.  Ears that you guys are helping me mold.

I really wish there was a way for you to make a living writing about music, Ali.  Someone should seriously pay you to listen and write about this stuff 8 hours a day.  You have a gift for explaining this unappreciated, overlooked music.  
9/23/12 2:01 PM
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hugomma
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jman - OMG that Brecked clip was just fucking PERFECT!!! Man never really heard much of him and now I'm like his #1 fan, lol. I remember getting Guitar Player back in 1986 or so with him on the cover and thinking, who is this guy with the bad haircut, everyone says he's good...wow, what the hell was I missing all of these years.

Wow at the Autumn Leaves clinic chord tone stuff. The command and creativity he has on the guitar is something I can't really think of any guitar player that I've seen doing...Django..yeah...nobody else comes to mind though.

As far as Kurt Rosenwinkle I'm more curious to hear about what others see in his playing, and find out what I guess I'm missing. I asked the violinst after the concert, but I really couldn't get a specific answer from him about what he liked about his playing.

Thanks again for the Mike Stern stuff...incredible player. Seriously the best "rock/jazz fusion" player I've ever heard.

Ali has a way of doing that, Jimmy.  What stared off as a thread about Nels Cline turned into an education on Bill Frisell.  What turned into an education became an obsession.  That obsession morphed into guitar lessons with Dale Bruning.

When Ali speaks (or writes), I listen...over, and over again.

And now, I gotta go practice.  But before I go, Here's Mike Stern & Victor Wooten playing Coltrane's Mr. PC.  Does Stern look like the kid that got the bike on X-Mas or what? 


 
9/23/12 5:33 PM
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Ali
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LOL @ "the Lynyrd Skynrd cliche bendy-blues/rock bleet n' bleet lick"!

The change from that ballad-tone to the edgier one... I dunno. I like his choices, and like that he's got his own sound, and for me... I end up liking the sound. I resisted at first, but the more I listened the more I heard it the way he wanted me to, I guess. That Monk clip is one of my faves of what's here.

Two official DVDs (where some of this stuff is coming from) were both at The New Morning, in Paris. I think the one with Bona and Dennis Chambers is the better of the two; maybe that's because it plays more cleanly for me, but... I think it's because it's just more spirited, more funk rhythm stuff. I'm not a drummer, but I love what Chambers does and how he drives that band, too. And I think the whole damn thing is up on youtube, minus the special features. But what you really wanna hear from the special features is that "After You" clip that I posted earlier.

I love jman's comment about the bad haircut. I kind of remember that, too. "Who's the guy with hair? People say he's a badass...."

The funk lesson made me think "oh yeah, Stern does this stuff really well!" (Scofield does too, btw, at least on a few records). And then jman posted Robben Ford's lessons, and made a comment about how he played for Miles... and I thought, "Stern, anyone?" Finally the duet with Vai and Al DiMeola made me unable to hold my tongue.

Gotta listen to Mike Stern. Sorry about the unicorns and rainbows on occasion, but that's only a tiny, tiny bit of what he does. And even that stuff is great once you hear it as part of the bigger picture.
9/24/12 11:53 PM
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jman
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Wow found this, very nice by keyboardist Jens Johansson (Yngwie, etc) with Mike Stern 3:50 and Shawn Lane 5:08. Shawn kicks some serious ass on this one playing some of the nicest stuff I think I've ever heard from Lane:

9/25/12 12:41 AM
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hugomma
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Ali - Right. "Slow Change".
(shakes head...) Mike MF'in Stern. Gnome sane?


Just got to this one.  5:24-5:34 is like flight of the jazz bumblebee.  Damn... 
9/25/12 1:02 AM
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hugomma
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Ali - OOOH, I found it. Here. "After You" is the tune he's leading into. And I apologize for Bob Berg's boy-band-dad meets Flock of Seagulls look. (R.I.P Bob Berg though).
What I'm most interested in sharing is the improv intro by Stern. Some of this is clearly "how I learned something from my friend Bill Frisell. And made it mine".

I think so, anyway. And that's meant as a crazy compliment. Turn this up. I really don't get all the way through the long guitar intro without tears. I'm a wuss. Sue me.


Just got through the 6+ minutes of the intro.  That was unbelievable.  I too busy shitting myself to break into tears, although if I saw that live, I'd be shitting & crying at the same time while I was scratching my head wondering how he did that.  Kind of like when I saw Frisell this summer.

Luckily, for levity's sake, the sax player (Bob Berg?) came out with the hair & the shades & the Eurotrash Don Johnson get-up.  That's a whole lot of bad hair between those two :-) 

You know, I just started listening to Pat Martino. Stern's speed, technique, & angular lines remind me a little bit of him.  Stern absolutely has his own thing going, but I hear similarities at times.

9/25/12 1:26 AM
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Ali
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Edited: 09/25/12 1:39 AM
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I became a big Pat Martino fan just because of the story of the aneurysm, and having to relearn everything, all that. And I like some of the post-surgery stuff maybe best (though not sure... some of the best stuff both before and after).

I'm too tired tonight, but... Pat Martino is another one that it's pretty easy to get me typing excessive words about!

I'm glad you dug that "After You". Berg usually had a much better sound than he did there (I think Berg was pretty damn special, but I didn't like him at first -- first stuff I heard wasn't him at his best). There were a couple of semi-legit CDs of Berg/Stern that were excellent. And there's an excellent concert DVD of Berg (but alas, no Stern). Whatever with the hair on these guys. I'm a bald guy so anything I say will just sound bitter ;-)

That Stern solo gets me all teary when I listen to it loud enough, anyway. It is jaw-dropping, but then it's just one of the more tender things he does.
9/25/12 1:30 AM
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Ali
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Edited: 09/28/12 1:04 AM
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This isn't necessarily the first thing I'd put on a Pat Martino thread. But since this is a Mike Stern thread, let's just go for it. From his record "All Sides Now", which is a record of Pat Martino + another hotshot guitarist for each track. This one has Mike Stern. "Outrider".

9/25/12 1:42 AM
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Ali
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Edited: 09/25/12 2:14 AM
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Jimmy! I remember trying to buy that "Fission" CD. There was another Johansson brothers, I believe full of Holdsworth, called "Fusion". They were pricey imports when I was looking into them.

I had no idea Stern was on Fission.

And Shawn Lane... Shawn used to play Stern's "Upside Downside" live, all the time (same tune as with Michael Brecker) At least, on concert recordings I've heard it a bunch of times. And of course... great tune, and Shawn Lane. Whaddaya gonna do???? Shawn on That Johannson thing is out of hand good.

My favorite Shawn Lane is a pretty common bootleg; sadly, the last tune of his last live appearance, at Smilefest, with Hellborg Lane and Britt. I'll see if I can dig that up online or not. (But that's got nothing to do with the "Stern" theme of this thread!)

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