Tommy is a freak of nature. Have heard him up close in and out of gigs and I'm not quite sure if he is human. He may be from planet Hendrix--actually, both Tommy and Paco de Lucia may be extraterrestrial or interdimensional. Normal people just don't (can't) play like that.
Not only want to speak about guitarists. Norah Jones is way better off having someone play piano instead and perhaps singin' too LOL!
Jimmy Page - the most famous sloppy guitarist. As an aside, I ruined LZ for my wife when I played her the originals of everything they ripped off. She was appalled.
Oops - to clarify.
My favorite popular music fingerstyle players are hangin' in there... I wasn't trying to specifically equate Renbourn et al with the classical players you note (although Renbourn has recorded some pretty awesome Baroque material and Buckingham does have a mean "faux" rasqueado in his bag of tricks).
I play primarily fingerstyle and couldn't agree with you more! It explains so many of my shortcomings.
OTOH, most of my favorite fingerstyle players are getting on a bit, but they're still on top of their game. John Renbourn is 70, Richard Thompson and Lindsey Buckingham are both 65, and Tommy Emmanuel is 60. It can be done!
Notwithstanding all that, IMO your comment is squarely on point.
On guitar there's a difference between primarily plectrum style linear/chordal alternation such as McLaughlin would play versus the fingerstyle counterpoint of Kottke or John Williams. As difficult as what McLaughlin does is to do (at his level) the contrapuntal style is difficult to do at any level--and extremely difficult at the level of John Williams, Manuel Barrueco, etc.
Not to take away a thing from Mclaughlin, Tony Rice, et. al.
I can't come close to doing what any of those guys at the top do!!!
Onhwy61, well, most of our beloved musicians are in their 60's or even 70's and most don't trip several times per song...
Haven't heard neither Fripp, Belew, Scofield, Mclaughlin, Holdsworth play sloppy lately for some reason.
I guess some famous musicians may count on their previous glory and play sloppy in their 60's and some not.
Nancy Wilson (Heart) once said,"I was a better guitar player when I was younger. Sheesh, I just don't get it".
I saw David Lindley the other night at Mccabe's Guitar Shop. I heard him cover his ass by playing the same thing twice. Anyone who can do that in a nano second is great in my opinion. That's the way it goes in music and it's fine by me.
Cool post, thanks,
The last time I saw Steve Howe play live was maybe 12 or 13 years ago and he was spot on. I was completely floored and hadn't seen him since 1983. Not sure about now but he might have arthritis as is so common amongst pickers.
in the early 90s I saw the classical guitarist John Williams who is the greatest guitarist (technically) I have ever seen and a few weeks later I saw Leo Kottke and it seemed like he blew ever other note!
What a contrast especially when I was expecting Kottke to be brilliant. I still enjoyed him very much but sloppy indeed.
Both Kottke and Howe are in their late 60s. Musicians suffer from the same problems of aging as the general population and it can effect their performances. It's a rare musician who approaching 70 can play with the same technical proficiency they had when they were 25. I also think older musicians put technique in a different perspective from when they where young. It's important, but they embrace that there is so much more to playing than speed.
More than a decade ago I read an interview with Eddie Van Halen where he matter of factly stated that he couldn't play some of the material from the first few Van Halen albums. He explained that as he aged he just doesn't have the time or interest in playing the guitar 12-16 hours a day. Of course that's going to negatively effect his technical abilities.
I saw Leo in the 70's, 80's, 90's and 00's. Never a problem, though he's lost a step, perhaps.
That said, a friend/student whose opinion I respect told me he saw a Leo show that was lacking in execution. So maybe he's an old guy who has good days and bad days, I don't know.
Martykl's comment above echoes my experiences with Leo Kottke, as well...on disc or live.
improvisation should not trip off either. many musicians can mask their trips(not in classical music though), but making more than one or two per piece is simply impossible to mask! on most of latest live performances Steve Howe tripped to often.
i felt differently and every note or chord played by Leo Kottke seemed sloppy. it might be the certain style or that i do not know or understand...
Many stages are open at times for anyone to take a crack at it:)
Not sure what you're referencing re: Leo Kottke
I'm just a casual fan, but I saw him play in Minnesota maybe a decade ago. He clearly has ridiculous skills. (Or at least he did back then.) His genre tends toward the rhythm-centric, so he may play with pitch sometimes, but I don't recall hearing him blow it outright. I'm not saying it hasn't happened, I've just never caught it. IME, he is pretty much a metronome - I've seen few players who can keep time like Leo.
A related item, a piece of advice I once got from a guitar teacher: If you ever miss and play a blat during a solo, just play the same note again. Once is a miss, twice is quirky improvisation.
Jazz and Blues are impromptu by nature. That defines true art to me.
The same song will be played slightly differently each night driven by momentary mood and feel with the rest of the band. I expect that.
Stepping out of one's comfort zone is the only way to grow.
Once in a while you hit a clam. life is alive!!! :)
Some of my favorite artists compensate for lack of pure technical skill with feedback, distortion, and effects- Neil Young, the Edge, and Jack White. Of course, then there is Steve Morse who is a very gifted technically, but uses effects anyway because in the appropriate places, they sound cool. You don't want to take the soul out of the music.
Drubin, I guess both I've mentioned players don't allocate too much time to brush or advance their music. Yayk!
Clapton isn't perfect, but very consistent organized and professional.
If you're NOT occasionally messing up, you're not playing very hard. Clapton may be the exception.
If you're occasionally messing up, you're not playing very hard.
I found this to be true with Susan Tedeschi. She resolved her situation by marrying a better player. ;^)