John Scofield at The August Wilson Center

Last evening we returned to the August Wilson Center to attend the closing event of the Highmark Blues and Heritage Festival. Last year we visited the center for the first time to attend the Pittsburgh Shorts Film Festival. We vowed to return to see a music performance and as we suspected it is a perfect venue for Jazz.

John Scofield is a master guitarist we had never seen and love his recordings with Miles Davis, Medeski, Martin and Wood and others. He was amazing and just as impressive were the musicians in his band. We had seen drummer Bill Stewart perform before with the Brecker Brothers. Vicente Archer on bass and Gerald Clayton on piano and organ also were both amazing performers. The acoustics are so wonderful we could clearly hear everything without excessive volume. This was the first Blues and Heritage Festival, we will plan to attend again next year.

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John Scofield

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Yo La Tengo at Carnegie Music Hall

So we were on our way to Boston for Thanksgiving a few years ago and stopped at a rest stop on The Mass Pike. My daughter and wife found me standing in front of the Men’s Room door staring intently at the door. They gave me a strange look and shrugged and I said, “Any second Trey Anastasio is going to walk out that door.” They both laughed but I had seen him go in when I was leaving and almost on cue he walked out the door.

Predictably my wife and daughter both shrieked TREY and he smiled and walked over to talk to us. After a minute he asked an interesting question, “So how did this happen?” wanting to know how our family became Phish Fans. We told him that we had been taking our daughter to Grateful Dead shows since she was 7 years old and now she was taking us to Phish shows. He nodding saying, “That makes sense.”

So why am I telling you this? It wasn’t really accurate. We still bought the tickets and actually it was my Godson who really introduced us to Phish. However when my daughter was in graduate school she surprised us by buying tickets and taking us to our first Yo La Tengo show in Maxwell”s Pub in Hoboken. Last night we saw the band deliver an awesome performance at Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh. Of course it made me think of my daughter but also of meeting Trey Anastasio all those years ago and thinking he would also think that this also made sense.

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School Days

Stanley Clarke playing at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. The guitarist was Ray Gomez and was part of the School Days album tour in 1976. We recently saw him play with Return to Forever and he has not lost a lick. One of the best bass guitarists of all time.

Stanley Clarke at the Stanley Theatre in Pittsburgh

Chris Wood

Chris Wood from Medeski,Martin and Wood is one of the world’s best bass players. During their current “acoustic tour” he played three different basses during the show. When he plays the “stand up”bass the instrument seems to become part of his body. Click here to see other images or by a print of this one.

Bass Hands

Zappa Remembered

Five hundred years from now when music historians study the music of the twentieth century they will probably compare Zappa to Bach and Mozart of previous centuries. He was a consummate guitarist but more importantly an excellent composer. He composed “songs” but what sets him apart was his ability to compose complex music in the tradition of the old masters. “The Big Swifty” is an example of this which he played at the Syria Masque decades ago. Buy a print or T-Shirt and see other images at my music gallery by clicking here.

© Richard Burke 1973-2012

Zappa Jams Pittsburgh

Chris Wood on the Hofner

Chris Wood plays a lot of instruments but outside of Paul McCarthy you don’t see too many professional bass guitar players playing the Hofner bass guitar which has its own unique sound. This photo was taken recently at the Medeski, Martin and Wood concert at the Sherman Theatre in Stroudsburg Pennsylvania. I have seen most of the great bass players in concert (Clarke,Woonton,etc)and Wood is a member of that class. You can purchase a print of this image by clicking here.

Chris Wood on the Hofner