Sunday, January 11, 2009

Early Musical Influences

This afternoon I was listening to a local blues & jazz radio station. The DJ was playing some choice music from The Paul Butterfield Blues Band from the “East Meets West” album mastered in the late 60s. Around 1970, I spent some time at The Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, Ca. listening to the Paul Butterfield’s Band play, since they were there often There were influences of sitar in some of Elvin Bishop’s and/or Mike Bloomfield’s scales as well as minor and major scale runs. I noticed the counterpoint of major to minor scales for tension and release. Later on I noticed the same technique used by Jerry Garcia in his long jams.

What impressed me after all these years was how accessible the music sounded. It had a raw energy that was always appealing, brought soulful blues to the coast and helped to inspire a generation of musicians. I would keep the style of the music in mind when playing my guitar, jamming with friends often after classes and on weekends while in College.

My style included many influences over the years. I used a few open tunings since I learned Stephen Stills, Joni Mitchell (plus) and blues slide for practice. I was in a fusion band during my college years with a clarinet and piano player, while I also worked on Bach's Brandenberg concerto with flute and piano and thrown in there somewhere was a sitar effect in another genre of guitar using an open "E" tuning a la John Fahey and later Leo Kottke, with the base "E" dropped down an octave to approximate a droning sound. Blues was my mainstay with some Jorma Kaokonen thrown in, from The Jefferson Airplane

It was sad to see many years ago The Golden Bear had been closed.

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