Sunday, February 11, 2007

Magical Musical Pairings

Masters of music push limits, often together. Playing back-up, singing duets, adding a hot lead riff, or just hanging out and jamming, the roles of musical collaborators are many.

From these collaborations, and there are many, a few magical musical pairings occasionally emerge. And when they do, it's worthy of notice. Recently, the work of Emmy Lou Harris paired with Mark Knopfler has been getting a lot of play around our house. As are the tunes that Maria Muldaur recorded last year with blues pianist Charles Brown. We've always thought that Dougie McClain and Kathy Mattea went well together. Likewise Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne. Shawn Colvin's voice works well with Bruce Hornsby's limited range and Kelly Jo Phelps' deep growl blends perfectly with Tony Furtado.

Guitarists like Bert Jansch and John Renborne worked better together than alone. Eric Clapton laid down his best riffs playing with the late Duane Allman on Layla. Watching Carlos Santana play with Henry Garza of Los Lonely Boys is like seeing the torch pass from one generation to the next. And of course, Ry Cooder has paired his guitar-playing with just about every musician of merit on the planet. A lot more on the contributions of Cooder to popular music in a later post.

Gypsy fiddle player, Stephan Grapelli has added his serious Manouche jazz licks to a lot of collaborative works. His violin conversations with L. Subramaniam of India are incredible. Talk about East meets West. Gypsy jazz meets Carnatic, Hindustani violin. This stuff is so fast you can practically see the sparks flying. For a taste of Subramaniam's fiddle, check out the M-Vid Oddities and Virtuosities sidebar element. Another clip links to Grapelli playing with Django. Previous posts contain hot-links to all the musicians mentioned here. So go ahead, read them.

No comments: