Jazz music, news and views

Friday, July 28, 2006

Six-String Slinger Videos

Fun footage for your Friday: a duet of guitar duos.

1) Pat Metheny and Ulf Wakenius: "Bright Size Life.” Metheny originally recorded this tune at 21 years old for his debut album by the same name in 1975. In the liner notes, vibraphonist Gary Burton, who hired Metheny as a teenager, remembers the constantly grinning teenage guitarist as “an incredible blend of Missouri, hip, chops, and all those teeth.” His style is as fresh now as it was then, and over 30 years later, this song still sounds like it was written yesterday. Ulf Wakenius may be familiar to fans of Oscar Peterson’s work from the late ‘90s through the present. Metheny has clearly been an inspiration for the Swedish Wakenius, but other detectable influences include Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall and Pat Martino (an extensive list of his favorites is available on his “Links” page). He absolutely tears into this tune with an incredible wealth of fleet-fingered ideas (and a considerable dose of blues), and Metheny responds telepathically as Wakenius takes it “outside” just before the four-minute mark. Metheny may have written this tune, but Wakenius clearly owns it here as well!

2) John Scofield and Pat Martino: “Sunny.” This performance is remarkable for the contrast between the two leaders: Scofield’s languid, rock-tinged bluesiness is the perfect foil for Martino’s melodic, assault-rifle licks (Sco’s tone sounds a bit overly compressed but this probably more the fault of the video quality). This performance may not be either axeman's best, but they both deliver the goods with finesse nonetheless. Organist Joey DeFrancesco's subtle but funky accompaniment transitions into a tension-building, boisterous solo of his own. His longtime drummer Byron “Wookie” Landham cooks throughout with some syncopated and in-the-pocket grooves. The gravy is the guitarists’ exchange during the coda and cadenza in the last few minutes of the tune.


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