You Don’t Play Right

Were I still doing my 100 Days of Art Series (and I am, only I’m not posting anything) this would be Day 45. I started thinking, looking at a blogger’s post on Hendrix, that some just don’t play right. You know the type, when you and your mates are playing a friendly game of football, and some jackhole comes along making rough tackles and … and … and playing for real!

Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with playing for real, except that it changes the game–rather permanently–in the new guy’s favor. Perhaps as a blessing to the rest of us, and their legend, such paradigm shifters never hang around for long. Here are a few of my favorites. I wonder if you can discern any patterns (other than the obvious).

Jimi Hendrix: ‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky. I wanna make it orgasm. People know that Jimi could make his guitar sing and wail, but they forget the man was a session player long before he reinvented the instrument. Here he plays a straight blues tune, “Red House”

Bruce Lee

Billie Holiday – musical phrasing was never the same after Lady Day. Hell, nothing was ever the same.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – reinvigorated a 600-year musical tradition and made it relevant to modern audiences. Here’s “Mustt, Mustt” (Lost in His Work) – my favorite of his. He was primarily a singer of Qawwali, the devotional music of the Sufis. Listen to his voice and you’ll understand.

“Trane” – John Coltrane – man was so good, they almost canonized him. Here’s “My Favorite Things” from 1965.

More to come …

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