Rapt attention

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Jerry days

There are a couple things I find hard to listen to on Sirius radio. 

I can't listen to the Beatles channel on Mondays because it is all Paul McCartney and as much as I like the "cute one" I quickly go on saccharine overload on an all Paul diet.

Ditto listening to channel 23, the Grateful Dead channel between August 1 and August 9, Jerry Garcia's birthday and the day of his passing. 

They call it Days between, or Jerry Church and the Days of Jerry, I forget which. 

But it is all Jerry and Jerry Band and I get burnt out on that band so quickly.

No such thing as a quick song, everything wrung out to the most ponderous lengths until there isn't a single drop of moisture left in the towel. 

I loved the Grateful Dead, well mostly until the early eighties anyway but never had the strength and fortitude to really grok the Jerry band and its diehard legions.

I was reading a comment from a guy the other day who talked about seeing John McLaughlin and Mahavishnu Orchestra open for the Jerry Band and reportedly blow them off the stage. 

Not sure if he did or didn't but having seen them with Jerry Goodman on their first tour in Central Park it would not surprise me. 

Incredible energy. Very fresh.

Sort of like what Miles Davis did with the Dead at the Fillmore West. Anyway, I love both musicians and could see it happening. 

I heard about a legendary performance where an opening Larry Coryell just smoked Jorma and Hot Tuna. Played any style he wanted to. Call me a weirdo but I like Jorma's mostly forgotten Jefferson Airplane psychedelic playing better than his blues playing. But lets face it, most jazz guitar players can play circles around the rockers.

Idioms get stale and played to death, especially 12 bar blues and incessant turnarounds. Dark Star is another story but you have to wade through a lot of ballads and cowboy songs to get there.

I found an interview with Jerry talking about the show and McLaughlin. 

When Garcia and Wales played at Symphony Hall almost three years ago, they were, at least to my ears, blown off the stage by the warmup act, the fledgling Mahavishnu Orchestra. Garcia didn't quite hear it that way.

"I don't really like Mahavishnu. I don't like John McLaughlin's playing. It's too stiff. Technically, I admire it - he can do things that are difficult to do, his execution is remarkable. But the way it ends up sounding is nervous and agitated rather than energetic. And also I like music that has more beauty to it and more soulfulness. You know, I'm not a really competitive dude, and I dug it for what it was. But listening to it at home, it's just not the kind of thing that moves me that much. I do think that it's possible to suggest emotion without using devices that are traditionally harmonic. I don't think you have to be restricted to particular tonal things to have that. In other words, it's not a question of cliche, it's whether the attitude of the playing is soulful. There's no other word to describe it. It's possible for a player to play modern and to also move you.

It reminds me of an interview with Jerry dissing Weather Report and Return to Forever. Too scripted for him, supposedly. I actually think he was a competitive dude. Never liked the way he talked about Robby Krieger's playing either. 

...that kinda raga-rock guitar style was strange. it sounded very brittle and sharp -edged to me, not something I enjoyed listening to.

To each his own. I loved the Doors. There are a multitude of ways for artists and musicians to express themselves in this world and things will resonate with everybody differently.

The spring tour took place in 1972, the year of Mahavishnu band's inception. Here are two commentors reactions to the show.

Sensory gestalt, waves of thunderous, apocalyptic sound... There's something out there for everybody and your favorite tapioca pudding might just bore me to death.

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