Posted by: seanoldblog | 2011/05/14

Writing experiment

East Meets West Guitar Trio

This evening found me at La Lanterna In NYC’s Greenwich Village watching three of the world’s most accomplished guitarists interacting as a trio.  I’m friendly with Paul Meyers [recently acquainted], am familiar with Gene Bertoncini [of course], and was just introduced to John Stowell.  What follows is a stream-of-consciousness account of the East Meets West Guitar Trio’s performance.

The iPad was on the table, along with some fine Italian meats and cheeses, the best olive oil, and a glass of Taliskar.  I typed as the music flowed.  To keep it real, I didn’t even edit or spell correct.  The iPad OS has some interesting otto phil for misspellings, but hey – that just makes it more interesting on some level.  Let me know if you enjoy this type of entry.  i enjoyed doing it, might just do more…

* * *

Weird chords… from all.

Swingin’ bass line with odd voicings.  Lots of misfrets, following the muse

Stowell, more clear, round dark.  Articulate.  Oops.

Paul, nylon, takes the thread, with love…  Ooh.. More weird chords with yummy lines in between

Is there a song here?

There it is.  One at a time, now all three.  Gene chord melody, John bass line, paul lite comp and counter melody.

Gene first solo.  Paul walks, low D.  After a spell John adds lite chords.  They listen so attentively to one another.  Lite touch, not jack Wilkins.  Gene sounds better with these guys.

As gene’s solo ends, paul lite-argues with the the owner to please close the door or it will be too cold…  Smiles…

John solos, more linear than gene. Digestible, not too heady.  Swingin’!  Paul still walks…  Now gene light comps…  They’ve done this before.

Paul goes now… Gene walks.  Bright lines!  Playful motifs, conversational. Also swingin’.  Here come the silly chords…  Wee!

Now John adds lite chords.  Paul takes it up a notch….  Gene takes four, now John, now paul, many rounds, HeY NoW!  An orchestrated out chorus!

So much trading, complimenting…

Hearty applause from all 7 of us at La lanterna…

More weird gene chords, something’s coming…  Paul melody…  Brazilian..  I should known this but I don’t.

I now have a three cheese plate with prosciutto and salami…  Patee..  Best olive oil…  Perhaps I have died.

John is so clear.

Gene is smiling and just tapping a light rhythm on his neck..

Gene solos now, such elegant ideas, not so polished, but full with love.. Big slides..  Interplay instead of a big finish, goes into the song, not the credit.  Love.  John leads it now, clear as the snow.  I should know this song.  Bonfa?  Jobim?

paul up voicing, John bass, gene noodle…  Big yummy chord finish…

O grande amour!  Paul gives title!  Jobim it was.

Now for the jitterbug waltz…  Gene starts, lollipop so open.
Now we’re talkin’.

Gene is sooo not polished.  It’s charming.  His ideas work.  Paul has such elegant harmony.  John’s class is understated, yet plenty present.

Now it half time swings in four…  Paul solos.  Blues lick???  Ok, back to bebop.

Now we waltz again.  Gene, oh gene.  John interpolates the yummy ‘A’ melody…  Dead air while John goes…. Big silly chord, fast licks, back and forth, chord solos, out head… Dancing, harmony, swing, tag out…

Gene blazes the trail to the bridge… Careful now ,  strange chord end…   Oh yeah!  Gene tunes down the low E to meet the D they’ve been in, banjo style.  Nice!!

Tuning… Together letting all strings ring and adjusting…

“Everything I love” by cole porter, the bill evens reharm….  John Stowell solo.  Methinks he’s heard lennie breau.  Paul stands erect, head up, eyes closed,… “Yeah!” Says he…gene looks down, around… John waves his head around as he navigates the turbid waters of the improv over these crazy chords…

I’m getting drunk on serious olive oil.  And these heady sounds…  This is a convincing possibility for paradise.

Now he comes into a cohesive time.  Big fat chords with a common ringing high note.  Gorgeous.  Constant structure… Sharp 11s

Now gene goes solo.  Hitori de…  Rio is here, giving back rubs to the guitarists, and smiles.  Serious guitar lover from japan.

Deftly negotiating different feels and approaches to a common thread.
John and paul (!) Join in with full rhythm, swing this time.  Medium, strong.  Clear melody now.  Ahhhhh.  Gene takes it over, two GTRs comp, now John takes the next eight, now paul…  Nice arrangement!

Each leaves the other a motif to play with, paul just took a big one! Now gene, now John, so clean.  Paul’s eight… Alone!  Angular, now gene, equally so, John more refined.  Paul snaps on two and four then takes his eight alone, they really trade!

My goose liver pate smells like feet.  Good thing it tastes better.  Way better.

Now they all go together!  And it’s not a mess!  Fun!

I sense a big finish coming…  And such listening, interaction, trust…

Big sharp eleven chord!

One more with thanks…

Gene!s solo is as rich as my pate.  John takes it alone now, softly, so clean.  Gene goes bluesy Brasilia
Paul comps now while gene continues single note.  Exploring all sides of the equation.  John adds tastefully.

Paul takes it, turning the beat around in the first four, over the bar line shit.  Nice.  Goes single note, big round ones.  Confident, ascending, hint of blues, gene hits a Spanish chord on the five…  Paul responds, now george benson-ish stuff…  Big chords in a melodic line.  Now octaves a la Wes.

John takes it with legato picking.  Nice contrast to paul’s finger style.  Two nylons and an electric solid body with a funky design from some offbeat dude in Oregon.  With good graphite trees.

Trading little ones now.  The room is dark, the tables small and close, the kitchen serious, the waiter condescending and bumbling at the same time, the Italian fare curling my toes good, the spontaneous counterpoint, now the chords, big major sevenths, now an out melody.  I’m at once thrilled, and sad that it’s almost over.

Gene takes a light approach…  Long tag… Vamp on the one, now a sharp nine…  Brown out.

This one’s gonna’ cost me.

Paul imitates a linguica!  Now just snapping on the guitar bodies… In rhythm…  Basic pulse….  Done with a giggle.

He says it’s their first show!  World premiere!

Paul thanks the crowd.  They break.  Bills are paid, friends unite, chatter resumes, thank yous and pleasantries.  Many guitar players meeting, agreeing.  New alliances  forged, shared.

I say good bye to paul, thanks for the heads up, good bye to John, clear as a bell, loved it, goodbye to gene, thanks for sharing yourself with us.  Again.  Almost at the door…  …what’s his name?  Sean Harkness ?  Hey Sean!  (says Gene!) Come see me on Monday nights in the room that used to be the zinc bar.  No cover!  Bring a guitar.

Maybe I imagined that last part….



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