|ANDRES SEGOVIA over 70 years ago single handedly put the guitar in the classical orchestra. When he was a young boy they laughed at him when he said he wanted to play the guitar with the orchestra. The guitar was considered to be a parlor instrument and nobody was doing this when Segovia first tried. Also there was only a small handfull of teachers for him to go to in all of Europe because nobody was playing serious music on the guitar on a scale that the orchestras were so he had to set about transcribing violin and piano concertos for the guitar himself. Nowhere in the world has any classical guitarist achieved the level of musicianship Segovia did in his prime or his greatness in the world of classical music. Meeting him and watching him play at the age of 92 amazed me like nothing else. He was so ingrossed in his art he forgot to get old...|
|I never played any of the eastern block country's and never really wanted to. I'm not curious about what's behind barbed wire and machine gun post. I got nervous enough traveling in Italy where at the airport the police carried what looked like little machine guns on their shoulders.
At the end of the 80's right before the war broke out in Croatia I played there with Jimmy Smith. I wouldn't want to travel or work in those areas again. ever at the best restaurants, whatever was on the menus might not be in the kitchen. The things we take for, granted like meat and potatoes aren't always in abundant supply in a lot of the restaurants.
The people there were very cordial and very much into the music. That's the wonderful thing about music, especially blues and jazz. It can transcend all cultural levels, delete boundaries and bring people together who might not ever under other circumstances be in the same room together. Theres nothing more gratifying than to receive a standing ovation especially If it was for something performed that comes from your heart rather than performing your hit, whatever that might be. Not that its not nice to have a hit to perform. TWO of my most gratifying performances were in Barcelona, Spain and Pasadena, California.
In Barcelona, I was playing with Jimmy and usually midway the set, he leaves me up there to play some solo guitar pieces. I've been practicing the Bach Chaconne since 1985 and I consider it to be a hobby. I never intended to play any of the classical pieces I study on stage. I had just purchased a new classical electric and said to myself, what the hell, why not. I played my usual Jazz and blues solo pieces and Jimmy had not come back up on the bandstand so I decided to just dive into the Chaconne and when I finished, to my amazement the audience was hollering and screaming like mad. I wish I could get that kind of reaction from the stuff I usually play.
The other very memorable ovation was the 1994 Annual Kirk Whalum Boys & Girls Club Benifit Concert. I closed the first half of the show and decided to play a very slow blues for my last tune. I counted it off. ....a...onnnne...twoooooooooo.. ..threeeeeee... By the time I play the downbeat into the first bar, from what my close friend Tony Rhambo told me, the audience was In the palm of my hand. That funky B.B.King patented triplet from "Sweet Sixteen" that I use at the beginning of my slow blues in A-flat always gets their attention. At the end of the tune, the whole house was on their feet much to my surprise. All of the audiences that I have played for have always had a deep appreciation for the blues all over the world but this crowd was into it more than any other up to this point in my career.
(Thank You very much Mr. B.B. King).