Tag Archives: Jazz

Saturday Top 5: Drummers

This week’s top 5 is going to count down the 5 greatest beat machines.  You know I love Rock, so if you are wondering why (rightly so) all the drummers are not jazz drummers, you already have your answer.  The criteria?  It’s whoever I say it is.  If you feel I have left someone out, feel free to leave your selection in the comments.

Honorable Mention:

John Bonham – His solo on Moby Dick is by far the most notorious rock drum solo!  And he played with a wooden kick mallet.  The version linked to his name is a live version that’s quite different from the studio version.

Phil Collins – Could have and almost did make my top 5 list.  Musically, he is probably the most talented of everyone mentioned in this blog entry.  It’s almost impossible to make a top 5 list with this much talent out there.  IT’S NOT FAIR!

Stewart Copeland of The Police – Stewart took several disciplines and genres (punk, classic rock, reggae, Arabic percussion) and rolled them into Rock and Roll!  He could be a little frenetic, but nobody questions his talent.  I love listening to his live versions of “Message in a Bottle” and “Can’t Stand Losing You“.

#5Jeff Porcaro of Toto – Some say he was the best rock drummer.  He could have very well been the best.  Of course, he is most famous for his Rosanna shuffle beat, but he had more to offer than one trick!

#4 Neil Peart of Rush – The best way to describe Peart is big.  This guy is pure ROCK and his kit was sweet.  If you want to learn Rock and Roll drumming, grab “A Work In Progress“.  This is the ultimate in dissecting the drummers role and the drum part.

#3 Carter Beauford of the Dave Matthews Band – Doggonit!  This dude is just incredible.  Supersonic.    Complex.  Skilled.  Talented beyond words.  DMB would not be the same without this guy, IMO.

#2 Steve Gadd studio drummer for Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Jim Croce, The Manhattan Transfer, and many many others – Like the #1, Gadd was a jazz drummer, but he was a Rock Legend as a big part of one of the most notorious Jazz/Rock bands ever, Steely Dan.  This guy is so smooth!

#1 Buddy Rich – The only one I could let into my top 5 who was not a Rock and Roll legend, Buddy was the greatest of the greatest drummers.  He was the Pele, Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, and Bjorn Borg of the drums.  He was one of the rare cases of a great musician who’s fame was matched by his talent.

There you have it.  Who did I leave off?

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Saturday Top 5: Rock and Roll Guitar Solos

I love music. And of all music, I like rock and roll most. At the heart of all great rock is the guitar, and the guitar shines today in the top 5 greatest guitar solos. Included in the list are a few songs that had the juice to make honorable mention, but not enough to crack the list.

Honorable Mention:

Hotel California – The Eagles Easy sounds from this southern rock band gave it such a nice feel. I still haven’t figured out what the song is about, though I have read things ranging from Satanism to music history (with references to Steely Dan and many other rock greats in the song). But the solo is just killer. Definitely one of the greatest rock solos ever.

Reelin’ in the Years- Steely Dan This is the closest to pop of any songs on my list. It actually was the #1 pop tune of 1973. But the guitar solo is totally rock. Steely Dan is jazzy enough for your mom and dad to enjoy, rockin enough for me, and about the most sophisticated rock and roll created. The solo on this track is Jimmy Page’s favorite solo of all time. It’s not every day you can find a guitarist who can come close to replicating it.

Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin There are many who say Jimmy Page’s hammering on Stairway was the best solo of all the Led Zep tunes, but this one had more emphasis with the breaks. I gotta whole lotta love for this song and this solo!

Long Time – Boston Off the self titled album, this was the best of Boston’s killer guitar solos in my opinion, and there were plenty to choose from.

Europa – Santana This song was the closest of the honorable mention selections to making the top 5. If you think Black Magic Woman contained his best solo work, you are incorrect. You can feel the heat coming off those tubes in his Mesa Boogie. Wikipedia has the parameters for attaining the sound Santana had on Europa, supposedly. He really makes the guitar sing, scream, and then cry.

Do You Feel Like We Do – Peter Frampton This was the best video I could find of this. The sound quality isn’t the best, but it still has the voice box and guitar solo. This tune is energetic, and the solo rocks in a big way that is worthy of mention on my list.

The “Top 5”

#5 Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd The smoothest work by a seriously smooth guitar player. Quite a few regard this as the best guitar solo ever laid to vinyl in the Rock and Roll genre. David Gilmour punctuates a song about an apparent injection of something that takes away pain. According to some of the information I found, there was nothing to the drug rumors other than that it was about a child that got sick and got shot up with some medicine to feel better. Of course, the term “acid rock” is actually a description of the effects of acid rain on a sheer mountain face. YEA RIGHT! Any way you slice it, the solo is one of the best ever.

#4 Eruption – Van Halen Eddie sets the fretboard on fire with some of the fastest hammering ever recorded. Actually, he was so fast many of the notes were supersonic and undetectable to the human ear. That’s how amazing this solo was! The link is to a live version with a little more than the original recorded version.

#3 Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits Is it rock and roll? You better believe it! There’s no trumpet playing in this song, and the solo(s) are just as effortlessly smooth and fast as the combination can be. One of my gun range instructors used to say “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast!”. I love the clean bends and flat picking Knopfler brings with his guitar here on this slightly altered live extended version.

#2 Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd It’s technically not a guitar solo when played live since it’s a duel between Allen Collins and Steve Gaines (Ed King originally), but the recorded version was double tracked and recorded by Allen Collins alone (still not exactly a solo). But since the 5 minute guitar piece at the end of the song is one of the most recognizable portions of rock and roll picking in rock’s history, I have to include it. The haunting slide played in the beginning of the tune is by Gary Rossington. That makes it a three part solo. 🙂

#1Little Wing – Stevie Ray Vaughan This is the ultimate in Rock and Roll guitar solo, an extended version of Hendrix’ Little wing with a portion of Third Stone from the Sun at the end. It’s a buffet of all you can eat blues/rock! It has some serious rock foundation to it, but the soul of this jam session is pure blues. It’s sad that such a talented guy (the greatest guitarist to live) didn’t live longer. To quote Bill, how much music was lost when he died? He had years of creativity, writing, recording, and performing taken away when he died in a helicopter crash at the age of 35. When you watch him play, he makes it look so easy.

There you have another controversial edition of Saturday Top 5. If you think I am wrong, then you are wrong, obviously. I welcome anyone to challenge my list so I can prove to them why I am right.

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“Around the horn” and “Through the hoop”

The Marlins have a lower team salary than some individual players’ salaries in the league, however, these young guys are doing the unthinkable. They’re in first place in the division, and have now won 6 in a row. On two occasions I have been burned as a fan of the Florida Marlins. The fire sale in 96 was within days of the first championship. That hurt really bad. Then after a few years, this team puts together another great run, wins another championship, and one after another pieces of that championship are traded away for young and cheap talent. Here we are again, in first place with some decent talent. They just signed Ramirez to 6 years 70 million. I am sure that he won’t be a Marlin much longer, but maybe we can find some way to squeeze out a championship.

As for the NBA, the Celtics have yet to win a single road game. Can they win a championship without winning on the road? I don’t think so.

I admit, I would love to see a return of the greatest NBA rivalry ever with the Celtics taking it to the Lakers, but the Lakers are now tied 2-2 with the Jazz out west, and the Celts can’t win on the road.

The Pistons have shown an ability to win without Billups and that really is a good sign if you are a Piston’s fan. If they get rolling, they can challenge in the east. With the help of some bad calls and a bit of choking from Orlando, they squeaked out a 90-89 win on the road to go up 3-1.

The Spurs are back on track with a solid win against the Hornets. The series stands 2-2, but the Spurs have to win one in New Orleans to take the series. It’s a tall order, but I have faith in Duncan, Manu, and TP.

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On the NBA playoff front

  1. Round 1 is in the books. All the favorites have advanced. I don’t know when the last time that has happened, but I will have to research it.
  2. Round two is going to be excellent. All the match ups are exciting. I am particularly interested in the east with Detroit playing Orlando and Celtics against the Cavs.
  3. The Cavs and the Celtics each won their regular season home games. The season record is 2-2.
  4. The Lakers beat Utah Jazz and have yet to lose a game in the playoffs. Victor is ecstatic.
  5. The Celtics avoided the biggest choke in NBA history beating the Hawks in game 7 to advance to round two. Essentially, the Celtics have to win the championship this season or it would be monumentally disappointing to the city of Boston. First the Patriots put together the most dominating regular season in NFL history and lose the championship. Now you have the Celtics with the third best record in NBA history. They have to win the title or this will only be a smidge less disappointing than the choke job the Patriots came up with this year. Could Boston handle the embarrassment for a second time in the same year?
  6. KG looked like a TE laying a blindside block on a corner trying to defend the double reverse. I forget who he put the pick on, but he laid his shoulder into it and leveled the poor guy.
  7. The defending champion San Antonio Spurs are down 1-0 against the Hornets. ESPN speculates that if SA loses game 2, it’s over! I don’t if I would take it that far, but certainly SA does not want to lose game 2!

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NBA Playoffs update and a little historical perspective

NBA Playoffs Shaq Garnett Kobe

Yesterday, it was the Cleveland Cavs over the Wizards in the east now up 3-1, the Suns avoided the sweep moving to a 3-1 deficit by blowing out the Spurs, New Orleans pushed forward to a 3-1 lead winning against Dallas, and with the win against the Sixers Detroit ties the series 2-2 and avoided going down 3-1 in a series they should not be struggling with. In the other series, Orlando is up 3-1 against Toronto, the Lakers might be ready to sweep the Nuggets up 3-0, Boston is up 2-1 against Atlanta, and the Jazz hold a 3-1 advantage over Houston.

If you go by historical statistics, the Lakers and the Spurs are locks to move on. No team has ever come back from 3-0 to win an NBA series (0 for 81 attempts all time), and only 3 teams have come back to tie. Only 8 teams in history have come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a series with the Phoenix Suns being the last team to do so in 2006 against the Lakers.

What does this mean? Nothing really. Records are meant to be broken. It would be great to see some lowly team like the Hawks beat the Celtics, or the Nuggets to become the first team in NBA history to come back from an 0-3 deficit (They would become only the fourth 8 seed in NBA history to beat a 1 seed, if they can get past that never-before-done comeback from 0-3). These series are not over until that 4th game is won. Until then, history is only history. Papers and stats do not win games. No team is safe or eliminated until the series is over. But the reason the 0-3 comeback has never happened, the 1-3 comeback rarely happens, and the 8 seed almost never beats the 1 seed is because the teams going up 3-0 and 3-1 are obviously the better team. The 1 seed is usually light years ahead of the 8. That’s what is so surprising about the east this year. The 1 seeded Celts and 2 seeded Pistons are so much stronger than the rest of the east that they should be cruising. Instead, the Celts have dropped one of the first 3 games of the series to a mediocre at best Atlanta team and the Pistons with the second best record in the NBA were down 1-2 against a team with a losing record. They even had to struggle just to tie the series at two a piece.

In the long run, I fully expect the Lakers, Hornets, Jazz, and Spurs to advance in the West. The Spurs might struggle a little to put away a tough Suns team. I also expect the Cavs, Pistons, Celtics, and Magic to advance in the east setting up some really cool matchups.

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