The Geologic Era of the Guitar

Some old roadhouse in the middle of Ohio ----- that's me & blues guitar slinger Son Seals -- June 26, 1987 -- and is that a pack of cigarettes in my pocket?  Yeh!  (I had to give it up, but I still smile when I see the remnants of my past -- my wife is a doctor and doctors frown on cigarette smoking, though judging from the date of this photo I can see it took her about a year to convert me over to the true path of abstemiousness)

Some old roadhouse in the middle of Ohio —– that’s me & blues guitar slinger Son Seals — June 26, 1987 — and is that a pack of cigarettes in my pocket? Yeh! (I had to give it up, but I still smile when I see the remnants of my past — my wife is a doctor and doctors frown on cigarette smoking, though judging from the date of this photo I can see it took her about a year to convert me over to the true path of abstemiousness)

THE RABBIT HOLE JAZZ RADIO SHOW

July 17, 2o14 – Jazz @ Noon every Thursday (starts at 12:07 after the satellite news) Host MARK WEBER – KUNM Albuquerque, USA – 89.9 FM (Mountain Standard Time) also streaming on the web > KUNM.org – Current time zone offset: UTC*/GMT -6 hours (*Coordinated Universal Time)/Greenwich Mean Time)

THE GEOLOGIC ERA OF THE GUITAR

Why are there so many great guitarists in the Albuquerque-Santa Fe area? There’s also half a dozen guitar shops in Albuquerque, alone. Why? Of the purely first-rate guitarists, we have: Lewis Winn, Tony Cesarano, Michael Anthony, Bob Brown, Jim Fox lived here for a couple minutes, Stefan Dill (not a jazz guitarist but a good one), the late Clyde Hankins, Pat Malone, and the two disciples of Michael Anthony: John Maestas & Claudio Tolousse Perez, Dimi Disanti, Dan Dowling, and Bill West, and Vic Romanelli.

I asked Cal Haines, the workingest jazz drummer in New Mexico, if I missed anyone, because he’s played with everybody, and he added guitarists: Reed Easterwood, Andy Gabrys, Daniel Ward, Tim Drackert, and Marcos Cavalcante.

On today’s radio show our guests playing in duet will be Bill West & Vic Romanelli.

Bill was born and raised in Waverly, New York, in 1939, just south of the Finger Lakes. Career in the Navy (submarines) 1957-1976. Sailed in Merchant Marine as Radio Officer 1981-1989. Has lived and played guitar all over the country — arrived in Albuquerque from Seattle in 1989. In 1990 began jazz guitar studies with Bob Brown. On the show he’ll be using his Benedetto Bravo guitar through an Acoustic Image amp.

Vic Romanelli — Brooklyn born 1955 — raised on Staten Island — graduated from New Dorp High School, same school that Santa Fe drummer / KSFR jazz dj John Trentacosta attended, where trumpeter Michael Morreale’s father Nino Morreale was the band teacher (see Michael Morreale w/ legend Don Joseph on YouTube). Also, during high school years studied with Chuck Wayne (John Trentacosta has hilarious stories of doing prison gigs with Carmen Leggio, who always packed a pistol). ALSO, guitar studies with Peter Prisco, “who taught the all instrument Lennie Tristano Method for improvisation.” Lived in Tampa Bay, Florida, 1979-1995 working in the science & engineering field, of which a job transfer to Sandia Labs in 1995 brought him to Albuquerque, where he immediately began guitar studies with Lewis Winn and Michael Anthony. “These days I normally play on an Eastman 805 through a Quilter Micro Pro amp, but on the show I’m going to plug into whatever Bill brings. I met Bill through New Mexico Jazz Workshop classes and enjoy the pleasure of getting together was often as possible.”

[ untitled poem ]

When it seems like the whole world
is insane
just get out your guitar
and strum a few chords
slowly arpeggiate an acquiescent Major 7 chord
and luxuriate in the enveloping sonic waves

Where I grew up, in Cucamonga,
there was an old Mexican
who kept a rattlesnake rattle inside his guitar
to ward off evil spirits as the rattlesnake
mediates between life and death

Remember when we used to slice an apple
or a potato
and keep that in our guitar case
to humidify the guitar?

I asked bluesman Philadelphia Jerry Ricks
what the old Delta guitarists meant when
they sang about their “special rider”
and he said it was the highway rambler’s
code for their guitars —- proof that
you must keep the guitar close, it needs
the oils of your body and humidity
or it disintegrates

A thousand years from now
when the archeologists dig up the 20th century
they’ll be baffled by all these little ceramic
bowls with a slit in the side, but they’ll also find
a lot of guitars!
This has been a Geologic Era of the Guitar . . . .

Old resonator blues guitar like Son House used to play --  the legendary Claremont Folk Center asked me to photo their collection ------ I was talking to Ray Crawford about guitar strings and how often he changed his and which types he preferred, then I asked how often did the old blues guys on the Mississippi Delta change their strings?  Ray said, "They didn't," couldn't afford the luxury ------ July 1978 -- photo by Mark Weber

Old resonator blues guitar like Son House used to play — the legendary Claremont Folk Center asked me to photo their collection —— I was talking to Ray Crawford about guitar strings and how often he changed his and which types he preferred, then I asked how often did the old blues guys on the Mississippi Delta change their strings? Ray said, “They didn’t,” couldn’t afford the luxury —— July 1978 — photo by Mark Weber

Charlie Haden & Bobby Bradford presented an entire concert of duets: February 17, 1980 at Century City Playhouse, Los Angeles ------ photo by Mark Weber ------ they played BB's tunes: "Comin' On," "Woman," "Snuffy," and Charlie's "Song for Che," Bird's "Confirmation" and reprised "Law Years" that they both made with Ornette, released on SCIENCE FICTION album ----- R.I.P. Charlie Haden (August 6, 1937 - July 11, 2o14) ------ Bobby celebrates his 80th this weekend (b. July 19, 1934), we're hoping he'll join us on the telephone for next Thursday's radio show . . . . .

Charlie Haden & Bobby Bradford presented an entire concert of duets: February 17, 1980 at Century City Playhouse, Los Angeles —— photo by Mark Weber —— they played BB’s tunes: “Comin’ On,” “Woman,” “Snuffy,” and Charlie’s “Song for Che,” Bird’s “Confirmation” and reprised “Law Years” that they both made with Ornette, released on SCIENCE FICTION album —– R.I.P. Charlie Haden (August 6, 1937 – July 11, 2o14) —— Bobby celebrates his 80th this weekend (b. July 19, 1934), we’re hoping he’ll join us on the telephone for next Thursday’s radio show . . . . .

Bucky Pizzarelli & Bill Biesecker -- Santa Fe, New Mexico -- July 29, 2011 -- photo by Mark Weber ------  Bucky was playing with his son John this night at the Lensic Theater ------ Bill used to own one of  Bucky's uncle's guitars and had recently gave it back ------ Bill was guitarist in the National Symphony  Orchestra in D.C. until a stroke slowed him down

Bucky Pizzarelli & Bill Biesecker — Santa Fe, New Mexico — July 29, 2011 — photo by Mark Weber —— Bucky was playing with his son John this night at the Lensic Theater —— Bill used to own one of Bucky’s uncle’s guitars and had recently gave it back —— Bill was guitarist in the National Symphony Orchestra in D.C. until a stroke slowed him down

Bill West, guitar; Arlen Asher, woodwinds; Rick Fairbanks, bass ------ June 14, 2o14 -- photo by Mark Weber

Bill West, guitar; Arlen Asher, woodwinds; Rick Fairbanks, bass —— June 14, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber

Clora Bryant & Her Swi-Boppers -- Watts Towers Jazz Festival -- July 11, 1981 -- Clora, trumpet; Jeff Clayton, tenor sax; Clarence Johnston, drums; Larry Ball, bass; Cal Green, guitar; Clay Lawrey, trombone, Munyungo, conga; Buddy Gordon, trumpet; Tollie Moore, piano ------ photo by Mark Weber ------ cool thing  about a radio show with Live in-studio guests is that we interleave Live music with recorded music and  we'll be hearing from Clora Bryant keeping things popping

Clora Bryant & Her Swi-Boppers — Watts Towers Jazz Festival — July 11, 1981 — Clora, trumpet; Jeff Clayton, tenor sax; Clarence Johnston, drums; Larry Ball, bass; Cal Green, guitar; Clay Lawrey, trombone, Munyungo, conga; Buddy Gordon, trumpet; Tollie Moore, piano —— photo by Mark Weber —— cool thing about a radio show with Live in-studio guests is that we interleave Live music with recorded music and we’ll be hearing from Clora Bryant keeping things popping

Mary Halvorson guest on my radio show December 19, 2o13 ------ photo by Mark Weber ------  she was in town with her Quintet to play the Outpost ------ I can't remember what she said that  guitar was, but it's not what it says on the headstock ------ note the ElectroVoice RE-20 microphones  we use in that broadcast studio, the best!

Mary Halvorson guest on my radio show December 19, 2o13 —— photo by Mark Weber —— she was in town with her Quintet to play the Outpost —— I can’t remember what she said that guitar was, but it’s not what it says on the headstock —— note the ElectroVoice RE-20 microphones we use in that broadcast studio, the best!

The late Hans Reichel, table-top guitarist (w/ cigarette) at the bar with Harry Miller, while  Peter Brotzmann & Vinny Golia discuss intergalactic sonic convergences -- I see flutist  James Newton in rear,  and on extreme right that might be Alex Cline ---- The Lighthouse,  Hermosa Beach, California ---- December 3, 1980 ------ everybody convened to catch Horace  Tapscott Quintet (David Bryant & Roberto Miranda, basses; Gary Bias, alto sax; Fritz Wise, drums)

The late Hans Reichel, table-top guitarist (w/ cigarette) at the bar with Harry Miller, while Peter Brotzmann & Vinny Golia discuss intergalactic sonic convergences — I see flutist James Newton in rear, and on extreme right that might be Alex Cline —- The Lighthouse, Hermosa Beach, California —- December 3, 1980 —— everybody convened to catch Horace Tapscott Quintet (David Bryant & Roberto Miranda, basses; Gary Bias, alto sax; Fritz Wise, drums)

The workhorse of the jazz guitar: the Gibson L-5 ------  There's even a photo of Frank Zappa playing  an L-5 in the early days of the Mothers (not his typical guitar) ------  This is Mundell Lowe ------  In the  cut-through (Cahuenga Pass) from Hollywood over into the Valley is a wonderful outdoor theater,  the John Anson Ford Theater, built into the side of the hills, where Angelenos keep their tradition  of Sunday afternoon jazz ------ Mundell was playing in a quintet this day with Plas Johnson, Monty Budwig, Nick Ceroli, and Lou Levy ------ May 28, 1978 ------ photo by Mark Weber

The workhorse of the jazz guitar: the Gibson L-5 —— There’s even a photo of Frank Zappa playing an L-5 in the early days of the Mothers (not his typical guitar) —— This is Mundell Lowe —— In the cut-through (Cahuenga Pass) from Hollywood over into the Valley is a wonderful outdoor theater, the John Anson Ford Theater, built into the side of the hills, where Angelenos keep their tradition of Sunday afternoon jazz —— Mundell was playing in a quintet this day with Plas Johnson, Monty Budwig, Nick Ceroli, and Lou Levy —— May 28, 1978 —— photo by Mark Weber

9 Comments

  1. Michael Anthony adds these local guitarists to the club:

    Al D’Marco and Micky Patten

    Also Daniel Ward (flamenco, fusion). Now living in LA.

    *I’ve only known Micky to be an upright bass player, as in his own group The Charlie Christian Project w/Bobby Shew, Michael Anthony, Cal Haines —– didn’t know he played guitar, he certainly has a lot of them, he & his wife Patty own the main gear shop in New Mexico: Grandma’s (originally began and/or funded with Clyde Hankins if I remember correctly)

  2. Rich, informative and and entertaining post, as always, Mark. I believe that the young woman speaking to James Newton in the background of the Lighthouse photo is filmmaker Barbara McCullough, a longtime L.A. jazz listener and supporter.

  3. This is cool, Markie. Steve Terwilliger is another guitar player worth mentioning. He plays with the Lab Cats with Vic Romanelli on the other guitar, Micky Patten on bass, my sister Lisa on flute and Mike Aster on drums.

    See you later this week…

  4. Sheila Jordan

    July 16, 2014 at 6:11 am

    Thanks Mark. You know that one of your poems contains the phrase The Whole World is Insane. Well my song The Crossing which I wrote for my recovery has that same expression….See how close people can be in thought without even realizing it…the song goes:

    The Verse

    There are moment in your lifetime
    When the whole world seems insane
    If you search beyond the madness
    there is peace of mind to gain
    where there is no time or season
    and there is no fear or strain
    take your troubles to the crossing
    it’s where joy outweighs the pain

    The Chorus

    Oh the crossing oh the crossing
    it’s been known by many names
    some have found it thru religion
    putting faith in God each day
    when your world seems lost and shattered
    and your dreams have gone astray
    never seek out self destruction
    there’s a crossing that can help you find your way

    Oh the crossing oh the crossing
    what a blessing it can be
    when your feeling down and lonely
    there’s an answer there’s a key
    and for those of you who wonder
    what the crossing means to me
    well it’s the love I have when I’m singing for you
    oh the spirit of the music sets me free…..

    Love and Sobriety…..Sheila

  5. It has been confirmed that that is Alex Cline in the photo

  6. —————-playlist——————-
    July 17, 2o14 —– KUNM
    Host MARK WEBER
    1. Bobby Bradford w/ David Murray, Ed Blackwell, Fred Hopkins “A Little Pain” cd DEATH OF A SIDEMAN —Oct. 1991
    2. Live guitar duets in-studio BILL WEST & VIC ROMANELLI
    “In a Mellow Tone”
    3. Bill (left channel) Vic (right channel) “My Romance”
    4. Jack Marshall & Shelly Manne “Choros”(Villa-Lobos)–1965
    5. guests “I’ll Remember April”
    6. Jack Marshall & Shelly Manne “All the Things You Are”
    7. Clora Bryant Sextet “Tea for Two” —June 1957 cd GAL WITH A HORN
    8. guests “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise”
    9. guests “All Blues”
    10. Sarah Vaughan + Mundell Lowe & George Duvivier “Ina Sentimental Mood” –July 1961 cd AFTER HOURS
    11. guests “Have You Met Miss Jones”
    12. Mary Halvorson trio “Deformed Weight of Hands” cd BENDING BRIDGES —-July 2o11
    13. Oscar Aleman Swing Quintet “Temptation” —1943
    14. Andre Previn Quartet w/Al Hendrickson “Moonlight in Vermont”——-28march1955

  7. Carol Tristano

    July 19, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Dear Sheila,

    Your song is so beautiful. It is the same for me – playing music is how I find that “place” I need to keep me sane. I can’t help flash back to your set at the memorial concert for Lennie – I vividly recall how you transported me and Tania to that joyous place – and it all comes from jazz!
    Thinking of you!

    Carol

  8. Carol Tristano

    July 19, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for your poetry, these photos, and guitar history. Wow – you’ve made me aware of a lot of people I didn’t know about.
    I dig how you’ve created this little community of “Have your sayers”!

    Carol

  9. and in the photo of Hans Reichel et el, film maker Barbara McCullough has identified herself as the person talking with James Newton (thanks to Kirk Silsbee for the tip)

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