Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Rio Lobo Guitar

I’ve written about Tommy Tedesco and jazz’s “unsung heroes” on this blog before.  It bears worth mentioning once again that many jazz musicians relied on their studio session work more than anything else to put food on their family’s table.  While Tommy Tedesco played guitar as a session musician on albums that garnered millions for well-known artists, he never had a successful recording career himself.

Sadly, Tedesco’s highly influential and often brilliant studio work mostly went unaccredited (cf. Denny Tedesco’s Wrecking Crew documentary and Guitar World‘s 2014 interview with him).  I recently discovered a powerful example of this when I watched the 1970 John Wayne western Rio Lobo.

The opening sequence was fascinating and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.  William H. Clothier, cinematographer for countless westerns, including many John Wayne westerns, and main title designer Dan Perri, who for many years remained uncredited as the creator of the guitar sequence (Perri, along with George Lucas is best known for creating the famous “opening crawl” main title sequence for the very first Star Wars film:  Star Wars:  Episode IV – A New Hope, 1977) collaborated on the Rio Lobo opening sequence.

The Rio Lobo title sequence shows a Spanish style guitar being played from a variety of different angles, including an “inside” shot of the guitar from behind the strings. Composed by Jerry Goldsmith, the guitar instrumental itself is a rather run-of-the-mill sentimental Spanish melody.  The musician is filmed while he fingers the chords and notes, using standard Spanish sounding arpeggios.

Curiously, I discovered that the guitarist was Tommy Tedesco, though he goes uncredited for his work.  However, the musician shown playing in the film, according to Denny Tedesco, is not Tommy Tedesco.  Tedesco never played using only his fingers; he only played using a pick.

Here’s the main title sequence to Rio Lobo:

How Tommy Tedesco’s playing ended up on the opening title sequence of a John Wayne movie is probably the same way he ended up playing on the Beach Boys Pet Sounds album:  as a dedicated studio musician willing to lend his virtuoso guitar talents to anyone who needed him.


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Sometimes being “chemo sick” robs a person of their creative connections, not always, but often enough so that when those cool, lucid, and inspired moments do occur, I have to take advantage of them.  Hence, a post containing original music.  A first for me here, but after all, it’s all about “call and response.”

The solo was written, recorded, and mixed, using a my 2001 Fender Texas Strat (Humbucker pick up)  played live through my little red Fender 25 R amp, recorded through an Olympus DM-20 digital recorder, HD, and and a omni-directional mic suspended and balanced between live amp and computer backing track.  Reggae style backing track composed using Chord Pulse 2.4 software in the key of Am.  Sound was mixed using Audacity.  All photos edited in Windows Movie Maker, using Google images from “public domain.”

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The great young vibraphonist Warren Wolf playin’ the shit out of the vibes!

Here are some highlights from tonight’s show.

Warren Wolf.  This guy is an amazing vibraphonist; such energy and hard bop swing.  This is a cut from his second album:

“Soul Sister” composed by Wolf from Convergence (2016) on Mack Avenue Records — Warren Wolf, vibes; Christian McBride, bass; John Scofield, guitar, Brad Mehldau, piano, and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts.

Freddie Hubbard.  Authentic hard bop; amazing bowed bass solo from Paul Chambers.

Played. “Asiatic Raes” composed by Hubbard from Goin’ Up (1960) on Blue Note — Freddie Hubbard, trumpet; Hank Mobley, tenor; McCoy Tyner, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Philly Joe Jones, drums

McCoy Tyner.  Tyner’s opening bars are straight blues T-Bone Walker style, but all sweet jazz improvisation.  Listen to this one and then tell me blues is not jazz.  Huh!

“Blues Back” composed by Tyner from The Impulse Story on Impulse — McCoy Tyner, piano, leader; Sonny Stitt, alto; Art Davis, bass; Art Blakey, drums

Oscar Peterson.  A great jazz piano player, full of soul and bebop keyboard runs (jazz music theorists have a word for this).  Scales and chords reek of the blues.  Jazz blues.

“Close your eyes” composed by Peterson from The Jazz Soul of Oscar Peterson (1959) on Verve — Oscar Peterson, piano; Ray Brown, bass; Ed Thigpen, drums

Mose Allison.  Mose is all but known for his vocal jazz/blues, but he is a prolific composer and a piano style that is full of the blues.

“Mojo Woman” composed by Allison from Down Home Piano (1957) on Prestige — Mose Allison, piano; Addison Farmer, bass; Nick Stabulas, drums

Herbie Mann.  Herbie’s popularity began to wan in the seventies after a prolific and successful recording run during the sixties, in spite of the decline of jazz commercially.  Besides Mann’s ridiculously crazy flute work, this particular tune, as well as other cuts on the album, features blues guitarist Duane Allman who takes a couple of rock/blues sounding solos.

“Funky Nassau” composed by Ray Munnings, Tyrone Fitzgerald from Push (1971) on Embryo Records — Herbie Mann, flute, leader; Duanne Allman, guitar solo; Richard Tee, electric piano; Jerry Jemmott, bass; Bernard Purdie, drums

Dave Pike.  A hugely talented, but largely unknown bop vibraphonist.  Mallet madness!

“Cheryl” composed by Charlie Parker from It’s time for dave pike (1961) on Riverside — Dave Pike, vibes, leader; Barry Harris, piano; Reggie Workman, bass; Billy Higgins, drums

Carl Allen & Rodney Whitaker. Carl Allen is a highly respected drummer who has played with hard bop heavyweights Freddie Hubbard, Jackie McLean, Art Farmer, George Coleman and others.  Here in teams with Rodney Whitaker for some “soul-inflected” jazz.

“Get Ready” composed by Robinson from Get Ready — Carl Allen, drums; Rodney Whitaker, bass; Steve Wison, alto; Rodney Jones, guitar; Dorsey Robinson, organ

Marcus Miller

Marcus Miller.  For what ever reason, jazz fusion, Stanley Clarke, Jaco Pastorius, Fender basses, the jazz bass of the 21st century has evolved even more into a solo instrument capable.  Two bassists who have been a part of this new evolution of the electric bass, Marcus Miller and Mitchell Coleman, Jr., illustrate the amazing versatility of the instrument.  First Miller (great guitar solo chops from Adam Agati):

“Detroit” composed by Miller from RENAISSANCE (2012) on Concord — Marcus Miller, bass, leader; Alex Han, alto; Maurice Brown, trumpet; Adam Agati, guitar; Fender Rhodes, Kris Bowers; Louis Cato, drums;

Mitchell Coleman Jr.  Coleman takes the “funky” style bass to a new level here:

“So Funky” composed by Mitchell Coleman, Jr. from Perception — Mitchell Coleman Jr., bass, leader; Mochael Bolivar, tenor; Josh Sklair, guitar; James Gadson, drums

Pepper Adams Quintet. 

“The Long Two/Four” composed by Donald Byrd from 10 to 4 at the 5 spot (1958) on Riverside — Pepper Adams, baritone, leader; Donald Byrd, trumpet; Bobby Timmons, piano; Doug Watkins, bass; Elvin Jones, drums

Willis Jackson.

“Crying” composed by Jackson from Mellow Blues (1970) on UpFront — Willis Jackson, tenor; George Benson, guitar; Dave “Baby” Cortez, organ; Earl Williams, congas and drums





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