Yeesh...talk about an open ended solicitation!
Already some good "nominations". Dozens more to come, probably.
Want to jump on @slaw ’s mention of Nels Cline. I don’t care much for his work with The Nels Cline Singers or Julian Lange BUT if he only played one solo and not another lick ever again, his solo in One Wing is all you need to hear. Tried to find a live non-concert version I’d seen but could not. This track off the album will have to do. That solo begins at 1:52 here...
If One Wing didn’t convince, try his lengthier solo-ing in Impossible Germany from Sky Blue Sky (though I prefer the stripped down minimalist sensibility of that in One Wing).
Thanks to Pokey77 for turning me on to Nels in what seems an improbable role in Wilco given Nels’ prior and on-going work in jazz.
I’ll leave one more (for now)...
Can’t pass up an opportunity to mention Neil Finn as a fantastically gifted song-writer who is blessed as few are with the gift of melody.
Taking a tip from Slaw, I too reserve the right to future contributions.
You mean your "The more gifted artist thread"? I really did take it seriously and gave some thought to it, coming p with a couple of "in-earnest" entries that would warrant some discussion (I thought). Gotta say, the Fleetwood Mac gig has me questioning Neil’s judgement a bit (but not FWM’s!). Their good judgement on Mike Cambell too.
I agree with you. Two bands that showed it’s possible to elevate "the popular song" above the mass market cash for dreck formula. Add XTC to make it a trifecta (even if all not contemporaries). I remember the shock and sadness reading the news about PH. The sadness remains. Check out the cover art for CH’s first. A kind of eery foreshadowing, perhaps. Never the less, don’t overlook some great CH albums made after Paul’s death. Time on Earth in particular is excellent (as good as any of their others). NF’s solo output and albums with brother Tim are worth listening too as well. More great melody and arrangements.
Not to dominate the conversation, but one more to add:
Andy Summers (post-POLICE).
A number of well-recorded, diverse and interesting albums. Nothing like the commercial success of Sting but SO WHAT. A favorite from those: Earth + Sky.
Track 9 - Red Stiletto
Thanks for providing the soap box :-)
I also appreciate your "deeper dive" posts that connect the dots in contemporary popular music.
Ha...was typing while you posted mentioning "Time On Earth". Agree whole-heartedly. Silent House is a grammy-deserving song except that would do a disservice to it! I also agree with your assessment of Temple of Low Men. A great and often over-looked CH.1 album, kind of existing in the shadows of their first and Woodface. Now I'll shut up
(close but no banana second to SRV, The Gadd, Jaco, Wayne Shorter, Merle, Robert DeLeo, Dwight, Scott LaFaro, Donald Fagan, Donald Hugh Henley, Duane Allman, Bill Evans, Ann Wilson, Roy Orbison, and God Rest His Soul The GREAT Glen Campbell...)
Oh yeah plus those old dead white dudes Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Schubert, Mendelssohn, and I'll B. Bach....
I usually refer to ths as "playing in service to the song". The opposite idea is wrapping a song around your playing. Clapton is a good example of the former, Jimi (in my far from universal opinion) the latter.
Some guys who shine for me in this regard:
Glenn Tillbrook (Squeeze)
David Hidalgo (Los Lobos)
Richard Lloyd (Television, many others)
Robert Quine (Bowie, many others)
Some great musical artists nominated. Marty, we’re musical brothers! George Harrison is SO under-rated. When the style of guitar playing considered hip by musicians became pretty-much purely blues-based (the Yardbirds For Your Love album being a prime reason, but also Mike Bloomfield in The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Clapton in first---after his time in The Yardbirds, though we didn’t know it then; he was not credited on the For You Love album cover---John Mayall’s band and then Cream, and finally Hendrix, who really put the nails in the coffin. Marty, I don’t care for his playing either, or his tone), George’s style of musical accompaniment became passe’. Players were now judged on their abilities at playing a solo, not playing a song. But George’s part in the middle of "Nowhere Man" is exquisite! Fantastic tone (dig the compression!), too. (it’s very reminiscent of James Burton’s solo in Ricky Nelson’s "Young World", which I bought on a 7" 45 in 1962). It’s my all-time favorite guitar "break"---not a solo separate from the song, but a guitar part that is a musical line in the song, replacing the lead vocal heard in the verses and choruses. THAT’S the kind of playing I’m talking about. Robbie Robertson plays that way in The Band; musical lines played on guitar (or piano; The Band’s Richard Manuel plays that way as well. And Garth Hudson’s organ playing is utterly unique---NO ONE else plays like him!) that are part of the song itself. Though more of a true solo than a guitar "break", Ry Cooder’s playing between verses in John Hiatt’s "Lipstick Sunset" is unbelievably great---a masterpiece!---Eric.
One thing about the influences musicians bring to the music they make is that, if a player and the band he is in (assuming he's not a solo artist) becomes very popular, he can actually change the course, the direction, that Popular music takes. When the more Blues-based bands of the mid-60's began their ascent, they did just that. Rock 'n' Roll music had become very devoid of much of a Blues influence by the time The Yardbirds and their ilk reintroduced it in 1964-5 and onward. It was putting hardcore Blues into Rock 'n' Roll that turned it into the Rock music we have known ever since.
Clapton was at the forefront of that change in the direction the music took, so it was really significant that when George Harrison played him The Band's Music From Big Pink in the middle of 1968, the rug was pulled out from under him. In The Last Waltz, Eric says: "Music had been moving in the wrong direction for a long time. When I heard Music From Big Pink I thought, someone has finally gotten it right" (I'm paraphrasing). He immediately disbanded Cream (the biggest band in the world!) and went to West Saugerties, NY to, he intended, join The Band. That of course didn't happen, but he did take their cue and started making a different kind of music.