“I began working hard and experimenting with techniques, seeking out the ones that felt good and were most expressive of my thoughts. My explorations continued for quite a while… More and more of me passed through my amplifier to those who took the time to listen” – Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery, a self taught guitarist, managed to reach a level of total mastery over his instrument that few can understand – he has set the jazz bar so high that an aspiring musician might be torn between feeling grateful and intimidated. His playing of “impossible to play octaves” is a style he has perfected “because, as a self taught musician, he didn’t know it was supposed to be unachievable”. This studio album, recorded in 1960, is so amazing that it was even titled ‘The Incredible Jazz Guitar’, you can’t argue with something like that. This is not one of those phony advertising fronts either, like those books that claim to ‘change your life’ – this is the real deal; everything on the album is nothing short of phenomenal. The Penguin Guide to Jazz added the album to it’s core collection section and stated that it was “probably the best Montgomery record currently available.”
The Billy Cobham/George Duke band playing together live on on this album
is perhaps one of the finest moments in jazz-fusion history, and is also one of the greatest unknowns. It’s an unknown because only real enthusiasts would ever manage to dig it up, so it has never had much exposure amongst casual listeners. The concert and the band was a one time thing; the band recorded this one album and then went their separate ways. What you are about to witness with your ears is a tour de force which sees four of the greatest musicians in the jazz-rock world playing it cool and staying in the pocket; yes it’s jazz funk!
This is the album that changed my life and the way I thought about music. It is also the inspiration for the title of this website, so now you know. Peter Green had an interesting history; when Eric Clapton had cemented his guitar skills with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Peter Green watched them perform live, hoping to get a chance to play with them. Eric Clapton hadn’t showed up to the gig so he asked if he could replace Clapton for the show, saying that he could play better than he could. John Mayall reluctantly let him join, and shortly after Clapton left the group to form Cream. John Mayall called up Peter Green and gave him a spot in the band, which resulted in the album Hard Road . The album contains many highlights such as ‘The Stumble’ which was a nod to Clapton’s cover of Freddie King’s ‘Hideaway’ (which arguably contains Clapton’s finest playing to date). Despite the high standard set by Eric, Peter Green’s attempt at this style of blues in many ways trumps Clapton. Another great song on the album was ‘The Supernatural’, which showcased not only Peter Green’s unique approach to blues guitar, but also his electrifying reverb soaked tone and his out of this world vibrato which he could sustain for ungodly lengths of time! This song hints at the dormant fire within Peter Green which was eventually unleashed on the recording of ‘The End of the Game’.
After recording ‘A Hard Road’, Peter Green also left John Mayall’s band to start his own: Fleetwood Mac. No this wasn’t the Fleetwood Mac that you’re thinking of, this was Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, and it was a blues rock band, that is until Peter Green left and it turned to shit. Peter started being called ‘the Green God’, as a tribute to Clapton being called God before him. He eventually bombed out on acid and had a really bad time. He was even reported to at one stage hold a shotgun to his accountants face. Under the spell of LSD unlocked psychosis Peter Green had enough of the music ‘game’ and made one last album as his final hurrah.
Green got together with a few random jazz musicians that were recording their own album in a studio and jammed with them for about an hour. All in one improvised take. The result was ‘End of the Game’, 6 instrumental portions of that jam. Contained in these 6 tracks was pure magic; the jazz musicians painted a lush canvas for Peter Green to splatter his guitar phrases on. Peter effortlessly utilises the wah wah pedal, in one of the finest examples of how it should be used. Click on the album cover above to hear one of the songs and see for yourself. This album is not to be missed, it is required listening for anyone with a passion for blues music or electric guitar. Roll up a fat doobie, turn on this album, light up and watch the night float right past you.
Bottoms Up – 9:06
Timeless Time – 2:37
Descending Scale – 8:18
Burnt Foot – 5:16
Hidden Depth – 4:55
The End of the Game – 5:09
Alternatively, if you want to support Peter Green, or if you simply want to physically own this fine album, you can buy it here; obviously, the choice is yours to make.
Above is a clip of Allan Holdsworth playing with Soft Machine around the time their album Bundles was released in 1975. The clip is an extended improvised solo from the song Hazard Profile Pt I, and it shows virtuoso Allan Holdsworth at the very top of his game. If you have never heard of Allan Holdsworth, then you have now. Allan Holdsworth wanted to play the saxophone as a child, but his dad bought him an electric guitar instead and the rest is history. He is known for his fluid phrases and expertly quick runs up and down the fretboard. The fascinating thing about his playing is the way he emulates the saxophone greats such as John Coltrane, his idol. His clean, yet slightly overdriven melodic lines drip off his guitar like oil. He creates a ‘wall of sound’ which is often heard in Coltrane’s playing, which is a barrage of runs and scale patterns played over chord changes, which sound like dribble at first, that is until you open your ears just a little bit more and let the pure energy of each note resonate within you. Allan Holdsworth is never ‘noodling’ about on his guitar, every note has been expertly chosen and played, with all the emotion and fire beneath it that you would expect from a musician of his calibre. This is Allan Holdsworth’s best playing to date… also note his white Gibson SG because it’s fucking awesome.
This is volume 5 of my live Cream bootleg compilations. It is my personal continuation from Cream’s official live albums ‘Live Cream Vol. I and Live Cream Vol. II‘, which don’t offer the Cream fan enough live performances. Each volume contains what I consider to be the absolute cream of the crop of all of Cream’s rare live bootleg performances. Download Live Cream Vol. V here. For a brief description of the volume, along with the individual track listing click more… below. If you want any of the full bootleg albums which these tracks originate from, send me an email and ask nicely. Continue reading →
This is volume 4 of my live Cream bootleg compilations. It is my personal continuation from Cream’s official live albums ‘Live Cream Vol. I and Live Cream Vol. II‘, which don’t offer the Cream fan enough live performances. Each volume contains what I consider to be the absolute cream of the crop of all of Cream’s rare live bootleg performances. Download Live Cream Vol. IV here. For a brief description of the volume, along with the individual track listing click more… below. If you want any of the full bootleg albums which these tracks originate from, send me an email and ask nicely.