Those collaborations, and by collaboration I mean orchestras getting a quick buck while their musicians were bored out of their skulls, were really all over the place in the late '90s. I’m glad that trend has calmed down.
You’re right, I’m not.
I am willing to concede that on the odd rare occasion something good may come from such mash ups.
Also there’s the fact that (in my opinion) that distorted electric guitar just doesn’t really seem to work with an orchestra.
Okay, I’m gonna turn this into a serious hijack, but I think many of you will agree that its worthwhile.
I’ll give you something to read and some things to listen to while you read it, because I’m an insufferable Frank Zappa fan and because music is my biggest passion in life and I love to share.
First, I think you’ll enjoy reading the AMG review of Mike Keneally’s The Universe Will Provide, which begins with:
Here’s a cut from the album, Worrywart Spoonguy.
And here’s a live recording of the same song.
I hope y’all like it.
He has his female fan base (his bio Crazy Legs was written by a woman journalist/fan), but yeah, Beck is very much a guy’s gunslinger. But not because of his “shredding” - more his technique - he’s a Chinese acrobat troupe on a fretboard (I could geek out, but will save you the inches). But his material is very ballady - instrumentals of A Day in the Life or the aria Nessun Dorma - so his flash techniques are put to melodic use. And his version of 'Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers - well, that’s just an iconic piece.
I am so biased about Beck that I am not the guy to make the case. To me, he is simply the best, playing at a level most of us can’t imagine. The fact that I buy his version of A Day in the Life - clearly, YMMV - that isn’t shredding. It’s a Santana-like vocalism, but with far more male aggression and complex technique. Santana plays to the ladies, and using a standard lead guitar technique, but with a similar intent in terms of having a vocal sound to their guitar tone…
DCnDC is right about scalloped fingerboard. I hate 'em - I play heavy, and they reward a light, spider-jumpy approach, a la YJM. Vibrato is different, too - you have the ability to push down in a pulsy way in addition to a finger swirl. But you have to be so sensitive to finger pressure, yuk…
…and by the way, count me in on not digging 95% of Clapton’s solo stuff, especially past…jeez, Derek and the Domino’s maybe? Unplugged was his tentpole propping up the back half of his career. Just like Supernatural for Santana.
It’s funny how the Dope works. As soon as I saw the Beck criticism I thought, “Uh oh! WordMan’s gonna be here in a second!”
For my own tastes, I separate guitar players by (what I consider) heart and soul in their playing, no matter the technical expertise. I don’t play so the technical parts are kind of lost on me. Guys like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen have it. Guys like Malmsteen, Vai and others don’t. I’ll be honest, and I know this is sacrilege, but I never felt it with Hendrix either. I don’t dismiss their talent, the sound just doesn’t do anything for me.
Yeah, I am a total Beck fanboy. Sorry. But not really
Sacrilege indeed, I’d certainly put Hendrix at the head of your first list. I agree with your other placings though, and would add Satriani firmly in the second list.
ETA: in response to Southern Yankee
I know. I don’t feel the same way about Hendrix that I do about Malmsteen, Vai (and yes, Satriani!) by a long shot. Different animals. I hear the soul in Jimi’s music, it just was never my thing.
Fair enough, I’ve grown enough out my rabid Hendrixism to accept that some people just aren’t that into his music.
Side note, people were playing that fast in 1984. Al Di Meola, Steve Morse, , Les Paul, Jimmy Bryant and a host of others were wailing long before Yngwie decided to enlighten us with his particular brand of shred.
I liked Yngwie for about 2 weeks when he first came out. The neo-classical thing got old kinda quick. However, I disagree about the soul thing that people keep bringing up. Yngwie may not be my cup of tea but he knows what he wants to play and does it damned well. Yngwie, when so inclined, can knock out SVR. His soul is just different than yours (or mine for that matter).
Per lisiate I put Hendrix in your first group. I hear the point in your post - you prefer creativity vs. execution, even it if has slop. Especially if it has slop. But that’s Hendrix, too. Dude’s a slop artist. Listen to Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)‘s intro - SRV’s version is so much technically better - but, jeez, that’s Hendrix’ riff - his slop is so cool there.
Speed does not equal Talent. As mentioned above, all technique and no soul is just about useless. I get the same feeling when I hear Blues Traveler. His schtick is playing fast. My reaction is Yeah. So what?
I always used to laugh when guys like the guitar player from Winger or some such would identify Hendrix as an influence to a writer from Guitar magazine and the writer would then ask something like “If Hendrix were alive today, what would you say to him?” and the reply would be “Dude! Tune your guitar!”
I agree speed does not necessarily equal talent, but knowledge of all those intricate scalar patterns, modes, etc at least imparts a semblance of musical knowledge.
Or it could be that you think, feel and hear too slow. Different people feel different things and just because you don’t feel something doesn’t mean there isn’t something there to feel.
I really don’t care for Beck, Hendrix, the Beatles and a whole bunch of other musicians. However, my failure to appreciate what they do isn’t on them. Art doesn’t click with everyone and its overall value is that there are tons of different artists expressing different things. If you don’t get it, fine. However, just because you don’t get it does not mean that there is nothing there.
This is a something of a minority opinion, but I thought Deep Purple’s Concerto For Group and Orchestra was wonderful.
This is what bothers me when I hear the melodies from his first solo album because I can HEAR a merge of emotion and fast playing, which is what I am lamenting in my OP because AFAICT he’s completely lost it in favor of some ridiculous ultra-shred-fest that interests exactly nobody. Utterly. Again…it’s a shame. Anyone that wants to discard what I mean without knowledge should please look and listen to the three songs I listed in the OP (as they were originally recorded).