Listening to the CD of Guitars (where‚ as producer John Snyder makes obvious‚ Marc Ribot and Bill Frisell each shine in their own inimitable manners as players and composers) is an exquisite experience‚ but watching the DVD enclosed in the deluxe package is something else entirely.
And not just from the technical standpoint‚ as it offers all manner of varying camera angles to watch the illustrious pianist playing with his guests (and the rhythm section of Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette). The sum effect isn't so much to (re)create the sensation of being there as an observer as to impart the feeling of being one of the participants and thus seeing and hearing this music from every possible angle.
So it goes with each guest‚ in its own way‚ particular to that guest. John Scofield played with Miles Davis himself‚ so he is not intimidated in the presence of a former collaborator of John Coltrane's. On the contrary‚ the guitarist radiates the sense he's meeting Tyner and the redoubtable rhythm section on common ground as they play "Mr. PC."
Likewise with Derek Trucks. There's a mutual respect at work as the veterans interact with the precocious young guitarist who wasn't even born when Tyner and Coltrane collaborated or when the bassist and the drummer played for Miles. Accordingly‚ there's nothing awestruck in Derek's demeanor or timid in his playing on "Greensleeves‚" but a gesture of comradeship of one musician to another: "Let's play something we both know‚" he seems to be saying.
Similarly‚ Béla Fleck's amiable demeanor belies how his contribution of an original tune‚ "Tradewinds‚" furthers the alchemical process at work within this project. Even the banjoist extraordinaire's recent work with Chick Corea may not prepare you for the depth of curiosity he brings to collaborating with these men.
Consequently‚ what arises from the Guitars experience overall is to truly sense the ultimate motivating force of the great musician no matter the genre: "Let's see how this sounds?!"
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