Any time I think of British jazz guitarist John McLaughlin I’m reminded of his skunk-ass playing on Miles Davis‘ A Tribute to Jack Johnson and Bitches Brew and then quickly regret that fact that he not only stayed in the jazz realm but mostly put down his skunky electric guitar for tasteful, seated acoustic performances.
I must say, the person who posted the following clip on YouTube added probably the unintentionally funniest set up I will read all day:
As well as being a great musician Katia is hell of a sexy looking here. If ever I saw two people making love on a stage before…..
I know jazz is thought of as a more skilled, “classy” genre of music than the skunk-ass rock ‘n roll I tend to prefer, but come on, jazz on a classical acoustic guitar is a real waste of John McLaughlin’s skills in moving hearts and asses. McLaughlin coulda been a rocker!
I feel the same way about Charles Mingus. As much as I love his jazz albums, I wish he’d put his big band and arranging talents to use behind a wild rock ‘n roll singer like Little Richard or Sly Stone. For all the fusion efforts jazz and rock have attempted to make through the years, I always feel like the rock gets the short end of the stick. The energetic, concise rhythms and spirited vocals of rock ‘n roll go down the toilet once jazzbos are involved. Tom Waits is an exception to this rule. His albums still manage to sound like rock ‘n roll records even when he’s mixing in jazzbos, avant-garde musicians, and junkyard percussionists.
I wish I could go back in time and draft a few musicians from other genres into rock ‘n roll. They’d have to use their skills to suit rock ‘n roll’s needs, not merely co-opt the trappings of rock ‘n roll to broaden their audience. Terry Riley made that great Church of Anthrax album with John Cale. I want to put Riley on a Talking Heads album. Get me Steve Reich on XTC’s English Settlement. Let Jimi live long enough to make that planned record with Miles and Gil Evans!
Do you see what I’m getting at? What artists from other genres coulda been great rockers?