I just saw Jack and Gene last night at Jack's new tuesday night
restaurant gig (see http://www.jackwilkins.com/gigs/upcoming for
Wow. It's hard to put into words how amazing these two were playing
together. It was just a bottomless well of effortless reharmonizations
and melodic games that kept getting better and better as they became
more adventerous. It all sounded like traditional jazz guitar duo, but
no song sounded like anything you're used to hearing and no chord
melody went where you expected it to go. Major melodies became minor
or moved up a half step. Harmonies and rhythms modulated. Sometimes
they started out improvising together and the song revealed itself
only after a few choruses. It was like an Alice in Wonderland
experience - everything was familiar but different. I don't know how
many of the casual diners who happened to be there realized that they
were listening to world class playing, but the atmosphere was good and
people clapped for solos, etc.
The level of spontaneous musicianship these two masters have is just
breathtaking. They just totally hear where the other guy is going even
if it's somewhere completely surprising - there was clearly a lot of
mutual respect going on, they just played off of each other as if they
were one instrument, but of course their unique identities are hard to
miss. Jack played his signature Benedetto, and Gene played his
classical fingerstyle most of the time, but then pulled out an archtop
and showed that he's just as great on that with a pick.
Plus, it was all in an atmosphere of joy and humor, none of the
"serious" attitude you sometimes get these days. It's art of the
highest degree, but it's also entertaining and funny. What an
enjoyable evening: pasta, wine and no cover.
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Review "Music Makers Guitar Jazz"